Himalayan Art Resources

Bhutan: Paro Kyichu (A. Maki Archive)

Paro Kyichu | Ariana Maki Main Page | A. Maki Outline Page

Paro Kyichu (site name: Kyichu Lhakhang; location: Paro Valley) Paro Kyichu (spa gro skyer chu) is considered one of the oldest temples in Himalayan Buddhism. Said to be one of the temples 'beyond the border' (yang 'dul) built by the Tibetan King Songtsan Gampo (srong btsan sgam po, ca. late 6th-early 7th century) to pin down a demoness envisioned on the landscape, Kyichu pins down her left foot. The Jampey Lhakhang ('byams pa'i lha khang) in Bumthang holds down the demoness' left knee as one of the 'border-taming' (mtha' 'dul) temples. While it is believed that the site has been occupied by a temple since the 7th century, the present structure is the result of a series of renovations and additions since its inception. The 25th Je Khenpo Sherab Gyaltsen (shes rab rgyal mtshan, 1772-1848; r. 1836-1839), a native of Paro, renovated Kyichu and performed its reconsecration ceremony in 1838. In 1971, Ashi Kesang Choeden Wangchuck, the wife of the Third King of Bhutan, built a temple dedicated to Guru Rinpoche on the site. Her root teacher, Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche (1910-1999), conducted the consecration of the Guru Lhakhang. Inside the Guru Lhakhang is a monumental sculpture of Guru Rinpoche, a sculpture of Dilgo Khyentse, one of Dorje Phurbu (Vajrakila) and one of Kurukulla. The shrine of the main temple contains a primary image of Buddha Shakyamuni, flanked by the eight great bodhisattvas. Outside the main shrine are a series of sculptures of Chenrezig (Avalokiteshvara).

Ariana Maki 3-2012