The royal kingdom of Bhutan is the land of monasteries with most temples being built in the last 150 years, except the Kyichu Lhakhang Buddhist Temple. This temple is said to have been built even earlier. Situated in the picturesque Paro Valley, Bhutan, the temple is believed to be built by a Tibetan king to tame a demon.
Today, the ancient Kyichu Lhakhang Buddhist Temple stands restored and upholds its traditional annual rituals. The stupa, the prayer wheels and the main temple complex are set literally in the lap of the mountain range. A huge statue of Guru Padmasambhava exists in the courtyard. Tourists also come across water prayer wheels, small prayer wheels with Lenza script, monk’s quarters, palace for Naga and stupa for Naga.
Outside the hall of the shrine, the statue of Chenresig (Tibetan Buddhist pantheon) has 11 heads and 1,000 arms. As one comes out of the main temple, there is a second temple—the Guru Lhakang, which has a five-metre tall statue of Guru Rinpoche and Kurukulla (Red Tara), holding a bow and arrow made of flowers. The colours in the various structures, paintings and artifacts have all been well-preserved.
Nature is at its best in this scenic landscape and the Buddhist traditions in the temple complex offer a calm experience. One can see groups of monks sitting in different corners around the temple. An old monk visiting this temple says Kyichu Lakhang is one of the 108 temples built by a king in the 7th century. Religious records claim that the temple was visited by Lord Padmasambhava in the 8th century. The monastery is believed to contain many Buddhist spiritual treasures that was hidden by Lord Padmasambhava.
Devotees and tourists throng not just to see the main temple but also the two orange trees situatued in the compound. It is believed that it bears fruit throughout the year. Locals visit the place for daily prayers and go round it rolling the prayer wheels. Since the monks stay in the complex, visitors can hear the continuous chant of mantras throughout the day. Some might consider the entry fee of `300 a bit steep for a temple visit, but the serenity of the mountains and the beauty of nature viewed from the Kyichu Lhakhang Buddhist Temple is priceless.