The Divine Madman


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Asia » Bhutan » Punakha
February 12th 2016
Published: February 13th 2016
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(I published a blog a couple of days ago but for some reason it didn't send an email out so read that one first if you haven't seen it!)

The morning we left Thimphu I woke with the lurgy that every traveller dreads when they're going on a long journey and actually feeling pretty rough. I didn't want to spoil the trip so said we should set off and hoped that it would settle down as a short term thing. Unfortunately it was not to be and to cut a boring traveller's tummy story short, after a visit to Punakha hospital I came away with 2 lots of antibiotics and we stayed 2 nights in Punakha while I improved a bit.

H therefore has the story and pictures for Punakha so I will leave it to him!

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In the morning we stopped at Dochu La where there are 108 chortens.



From here we were due to do a short downhill trek to follow one of the ancient pathways. Sarah was not feeling great so stayed in the car while I set off on a walk of 3 parts - the first was a bit of scramble down to the ancient pathway, the second on the pathway was a gentle stroll until we came to a cliff caused by the new road construction, so we had to backtrack for the third part and cut across country back to the road.



At lunch Sarah was still feeling unwell and they kindly arranged for her to have the use of a room so that she could lie down and try and get some sleep. I then set off with Dendup to visit Chimi Lhakhang and Punakha Dzong.



Chimi Lhakhang was built by the cousin of Lama Drukpa Kunley (The Divine Madman) in his honour after the Lama subdued the demoness of the nearby Dochu La. Childless couples go to the temple to get a blessing from the saint. The Divine Madman's sexual exploits are legendary, and the flying phalluses that are painted on buildings symbolise the lama. As a result of this a number of small tourist shops have sprung up on the way to the temple selling a wide variety of wooden phalluses.



Next was Punakha Dzong, the second dzong to be built in Bhutan and the capital and seat of government until the mid 1950s. Whilst in the dzong we got to see the lama leading prayers for the king's son.



H + S x


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15th February 2016

The compulsory Willie picture!
Good to see you maintaining the travel blog tradition of ensuring pictures and statues of willies are well publicised! And its a good'n! I love the idea of "the divine madman", I think I'd become a follower. Hope Sarah's illness has passed, love Tony and Jen

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