Kyichu Lhakhang Facts
If you happen to visit Paro, one of the places worth checking out is the Kyichu Lhakang. This Buddhist temple dates back several centuries ago, and it remains as a popular destination among locals and foreigners alike. Its grandeur is quite evident with its elaborate exterior design and the rich history behind this structure.
The Kyichu Lhakhang is among the oldest monasteries in Bhutan. Songsten Gampo, a Tibetan king, ordered for this monastery to be constructed in the 7th century. According to history, the king had this temple built to overcome the giant demoness that was believed to lay across the Himalayas and Tibet. This demoness was also responsible for preventing Buddhism from spreading throughout the nation.
A total of 108 temples were built to stop this demoness from succeeding in her plans, and 12 of these temples were constructed as planned. By the year 638, the Jokhang temple situated in Lhasa was erected, which was strategically situated in the heart of the said demoness. It is also among the oldest monasteries that can still be found in the Paro district.
This temple was eventually adopted by various sects, although numerous Buddhist teachers throughout history spent their time in this monastery to unearth several concealed teachings. In the main Jowo Lhakhang shrine, there is an inner hall that conceals the great Jowo Jamba Statue that dates back the 7th century. The central image of this statue is surrounded by other statues including the Guru Rinpoche, Zhabdrung, and 8 standing bodhisattvas.
As for the outer hall, you can find the Chenrizig statue that has 1000 arms and 11 heads. In addition, the Guru Lhakhang temple is connected to the Jowo Lhakhang, and this was built during the year 1968. The focal point of this structure is the Guru Rinpoche’s statue that stands at a majestic height of 5 meters.
At the time of its construction, the Kyichu Lhakhang was only a modest structure. However, it was frequently visited by a number of Buddhist saints and teachers including Guru Rinpoche, Phajo Dugom Zhigpo, and Lam Kha Nga. Several visitors also helped expand the temple in terms of the size and fame. For instance, Je Sherub Gyeltshen remained in the temple in the 18th century and extended the temple, as well as adding several statues.
This historical and awe-inspiring temple in Bhutan is truly an enchanting one. There are many relics to be found such as the Jowo Sakyamuni statue that was built in the 7th century. It is considered as the valley’s most important treasure that is located in the main Jowo Lhakhang’s inner hall. The ashes of the revered teacher named Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche is also in the chorten found in the Guru Lhakhang temple.