(Built sometime in the seventh century by the Tibetan Buddhist King SongstenGyempo, KyichuLhakhang is one of the oldest temples in Bhutan and is of prime interest for art connoisseurs, historians, pilgrims and visitors alike. The grooves worn into the wooden floor by countless generations of devotees doing prostrations is in itself an irrefutable testament to the antiquity of the temple. The time honored monument is among the 108 temples that were built overnight in order to suppress and pin down a giant ogress that was obstructing the spread of Buddhism in the region. The temple is said to fall on the left foot of the ogress. Guru Padmasambhava who is revered as ‘The Second Buddha’ is also believed to have visited the temple and hid a variety of ‘Terma’ or ‘Spiritual Treasures’ in the area. Countless other prominent religious personalities including the likes of Phajo Drugom Zhigpo and Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal are also said to have visited and blessed the temple. Though originally a much smaller structure at the time of its establishment, it gained in size and grandeur over time due to extensions and additions by important figures such as The Twenty Fifth Je Khenpo (The Head Abbot and the spiritual leader of the kingdom) Sherab Gyeltshen and The Royal Queen Mother Ashi Kesang Choden Wangchuck.
Dubbed as the Sacred Jewel of Bhutan, the temple houses many precious relics. The inner courtyard conceals a mural portraying King Gesar of Ling. Beyond the exquisite gilded door, the inner hall of the main Jowo Lhakhang conceals an original 7thcentury statue of Jowo Sakyamuni, believed to have been cast at the same time as its famous counterpart in Lhasa, which easily qualifies it as the greatest treasure in the valley. The Guru Lhakhang contains statues of Guru Rinpoche and Kurukulla or the Red Tara. Outside the hall of the shrine is a statue of Chenrizig or the God of Compassion. The cloisters that fortify the temple foster a contemplative space populated by fruit trees and prayer wheels, which monks and devotees spin quietly as they circumambulate the sacred space. Adding in no small measure to the spiritual worth is a Chorten or Stupa containing the ashes of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, the revered Nyingma Buddhist Master and Spiritual Teacher to The Queen Mother. The religiously inclined can also visit the former quarters of the Master which is located to the left of the temple. Indeed there is no way that a trip to Paro can be considered complete without a visit to Kyichu Lhakhang. )