Monday, February 1, 2016

Penises and Punakha

Weekend #2 found us driving over the beautiful Dochula pass to go and  explore  the town of Punakha. Punakha is the home of the Divine Madman Temple. The temple is said to be where infertile couples go for divine intervention, which involves being blessed on the head with a giant wooden penis. This would explain the Phallus symbols adoring many buildings. We had many a laughs over the course of the weekend, we even went as far as making a game regarding who counted the most penises.  Talk about taking road trip games to a whole new level! Ok, so we are a bit immature but we know you all are laughing too!!
Dochula Pass

Festive ejaculating paintings
Divine Madman Temple

hiking through a village on our way to the Temple in the distance

Brads idea...not mine

DO you feel like someone is watching you??

A penis with wings...just the souvenir I was looking for!!

Erect and Happy

These restaurant signs were all over Bhutan. Cum means that they sell shots of liquor with the meal, not what your dirty mind might be thinking!

Happy or Horrified???
The kids thought these looked like rockets.
Back to the phalluses (or is that phalli?). Buildings have elaborate and often huge penises tied with a ribbon and nothing is left to the imagination. The Lama Drukpa Kunley also known as the Divine Madman was quite the rebel in the Buddhist religión. He made general use of his penis to fight demons, convert woman  to Buddhism and mock the religious establishment. His sexual exploits are legendary, on one occasion when he received a blessing thread to hang around his neck, he wound it around his penis instead, saying he hoped it would bring him luck with the ladies!! Needles to say Owen and Brad never tired of the penis jokes, the girls got a little tired of the penis talks until Brad started offering money for whoever spotted the most penises. Game on, we hit the jackpot when we entered  the local shops. Penis souvenirs were everywhere! Large, small, long, short, hairy, not hairy, and all the colors of the rainbow. Lindsey walked out of a store with a few wooden penis keychains to share with her good friends. It was a funny moment when we were at the Auckland airport going through customs and the customs agent asked to see all of our wooden ítems. We were all trying  to keep a straight face as she was inspecting our penis key chains. I told her that there was a good story that went along with our souvenirs , and she replied "some things are better left to the imagaition."

Unfortunatly  the unusual and unique painting of erect penises on the sides of homes is being threatened by foreign prudishness and the srtictures  of globalisation. This virile art form has been a tradition for over 500 years, and would be a shame to see it disappear as more and more Westerners enter this beautiful Kingdom.

Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten

The next day we headed to the second biggest Dzong (the Bhutanese equivalent of a medieval castle) in the village of Punakha. What an awesome sight it was!! Breathtaking to say the least. We scaled steep wooden steps that act as a kind of draw bridge at night to secure the place, to enter a massive courtyard with an enormous Bodhi tree. This is where the royal wedding took place last year. It was a quiet morning with us being the only non monks and just a  handful of monks roaming around the Dzong. The place held a great peacefulness as we wondered around the courtyard and visited the main temple which held bid beautigul buddha statues.

The Dzong sits at the confluence of the Mo (Mother) Chhu river and the Pho (Father) Chhu river. 

We returned back to Thimphu along the same route, however this time the pass was covered in fog and we could not see  the nearest hillside, let alone the Himalayas  in the distance. Our faces still sore from all the laughter  that involved the counting of hairy penises. And with a few funny souveniers in our bags we were sad  to be leaving the penil wonderland but also thankful for a womanizing monk with a unique means of battling supernatural evil. The treacherous roads are starting to feel like familiar territory. A weekend away like no other.

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