Phalluses are a common sight in Bhutan. They’re thought to ward off evil spirits. They are often nailed to trees or posts, or painted onto the outside walls of houses and shops. At Chimey Lhakang, or the Temple of the Divine Madman, in Bumthang, visitors are tapped on the head with a phallus, which is thought to bring fertility to those hoping to have children. Our guide referred to the sacred object as “the mighty flaming phallus of discerning wisdom of the Divine Madman.” The Divine Madman, or Drukpa Kungley, remains a revered historical figure in Bhutan and is remembered as a great master of Vajrayana. After the visit, one witty Tricycle pilgrim let the rest of us know that she had morning-after pills on hand should anyone feel the need.
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