On a cold March night nearly two years ago, not long after we had learned that the baby I was carrying had all his chromosomes in a sequence that spelled health and wholeness, I was lying in bed next to my husband marveling at this unlikely turn of fortune when I remembered Chimi Lhakhang.
Chimi Lhakhang is a dusty temple in Bhutan, a country where two summers before I had taught composition at a college. Bhutan is tiny, caught like a bead between the masses of China and India. Through the protective arc of the Himalayas and a strategic choice of alliances, Bhutan has preserved its borders and its culture. It remains stunningly itself, indifferent to Western notions of success.
This large impressive monument with its golden spire was built in 1974 to honour the memory of the third King, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck (1928 – 1972).
Khamsum Yulley Namgyal stands majestically on a strategic ridge above the Punakha valley. Built over a period of 9 years, Bhutanese craftsmen including carpenters, painters, and sculptors consulted holy scriptures rather than engineering manuals, to construct this 4-storey temple.
Chimi Lhakhang is a very popular and revered temple that lies on the periphery of the fertile valley of Lobesa, where the borders of Thimphu, Punakha and wangduephodrang districts meet. Being dedicated to Lama Drukpa Kuenley, the Divine Madman, the temple is popularly considered to be a temple of fertility.