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Kichu Lhakhang

The Kichu Lhakhang can be reached from Paro town after a ten minute drive. It is located in the Lango Geog (county).
Kichu LhakhangKichu Lhakhang
The temple is undoubtedly one of the oldest temples to have been built in Bhutan. It is one of the 108 temples built by the Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century AD. The King is said to have built 108 temples in a day throughout the Himalayan regions. Of which Kichu Lhakhang in Paro and Jampa Lhakhang in Bumthang are two of them. Of the remaining temples most can be seen in Tibet.

Kichu Lhakhang was originally a small structure at the time of its establishment. Because of Jowo (Buddha) as the main statue the temple was also known as Jowo Lhakhang. Over the years the temple was visited and blessed by many famous Buddhist saints including Guru Rinpoche in the 8th century, one of the Lam Kha Nga – saints from five different schools that had their establishment in western Bhutan and the forerunner of the Drukpa Kagyu School in Bhutan, Lama Phajo Dugom Zhigpo also paid visit to the temple. It is said that, the temple was under the control of one of the five groups of lamas and it is likely that it was under the Barawa School. Later Lama Phajo is said to have stayed in the temple and took care of it as well. While most of the saints either meditated or preached doctrines and began to exercise their domain in the area, some of the saints actually contributed in extending the size of the temple from its original quaint structure to a more grandiose structure which can be seen today. One such personality was Je Sherub Gyeltshen who lived in the 18th century. He extended the Jowo Lhakhang and added many new statues.

The latest extension was carried out in 1965 under the initiative of the Royal Queen Mother Ashi Kezang Choden Wangchuck. She added another new structure to the temple known as Guru Lhakhang.

As one of the oldest temples in Bhutan, the temple has many relics which date from the 7th century. The oldest of them are the statues of Lord Buddha Sakyamuni, and two of his disciples Maugalbu (Maudgalyana), Sharibu (Sariputra), other relics that has been added over time in the Jokhang are the four statues of Chagtong Chentong (The eleven headed one or Thousand arm-thousand eye one) installed by Dawa Penjor and Tshering Penjor during their tenure as the Penlop Rinpung Dzong.

In the Guru Tshengyad (eight manifestations of Guru Rinpoche) monastery that was added by Azhi Kelzang Choden Wangchuk, one can see the statues of Guru Nangsi Zilnon (the Glorious Subjugator), Hordok Magsog (Guru Rinpoche in a wrathful form to dispel battle), Dolma Kukuli (one kind of Tara), Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal (the founder of Bhutan), Sakyamuni (Buddha), a statue and Kudung (bone relic) of His Holiness the late Khyentse Rinpoche, Phurpa (ritual dagger), Tshepamed (Amitayus), Duesum Sangay (three Buddhas of past, present and future) and Guru Rinpoche.

In the third temple known as the Guru lhakhang there are many small statues of Guru Rinpoche, Chenrizig (Avalokkiteshvara) and Phurpas (ritual draggers). There is also the bed used by His Holiness the late Dilgo Khyentse.