Also known as the temple of fertility, the temple in Punakha valley was built in the honor of the Tibetan Buddhist saint Drukpa Kuenley. He was not the stereotypical Buddhist master and his indulgence in alcohol, music and women were widely known. He was known for his unorthodox way of preaching Buddhism and offering blessing through physical intimacy. During his travel across the country, he advocated painting phallus on the wall of the houses to drive away evil and to flourish harmony in the community. Thus he was known as the Divine Madman.
It is a local tradition where childless couples visit the temple to offer prayers. The monk blesses the couple with a wooden phallus which is believed to have the power to help the couple conceive a child. The rising popularity of this tradition has seen many couple tourists visit the place in hopes of conceiving a child.
(The Chhime Lhakhang is a small 15th century temple famous for its fertility endowments/rites. Westerners commonly refer to it as the ‘Fertility Temple,’ and sometimes even as ‘The Phallus Palace.’ Kuenga Legpai Zangpo, better known as Drukpa Kunley, or as he often referred to himself, ‘Crazy Dragon Kunga Legpa’ was a wandering saint greatly loved in Bhutan and the other Himalayan areas for his earthly sense of humor and easy manner of propagating the esoteric tantric teachings. The temple sits on a hillock shaped, as only Drukpa Kunley could describe it, like a woman’s breast. The word Chimme has been translated as ‘No dog’ and is traced to the story of how Drukpa Kunley subdued the demoness of Dochula.
Drukpa Kunley apparently defeated the demoness at the Dochula Pass where she beat a hasty retreat in the form of a red dog down to the lower valley between Punakha and Wangdiphodrang. He caught the dog there and buried it under a mound of earth, marking the place with a stupa and making a prophecy that a temple would be built on the spot in the future. The temple houses the Saint’s iron bow and arrow, a small altar Chorten made by the Saint himself and some of his personal effects and scriptures. A wooden effigy of Drukpa Kunley’s ‘Flaming Thunderbolt of Wisdom’ is used to bless pilgrims, particularly childless couples or those who have suffered miscarriages or early deaths of their children. Fertility groups from around the world also frequent the place. Children born under such circumstances under the patronage of Drukpa Kunley are often named Kinley or Chimme in honor of the Saint and the temple. )