Kyichu lhakang is located at Paro district in Bhutan. This lhakang is also known as Kyerchu or Lho Kyerchu. It is considered to be one of the oldest temples in Bhutan. Paro kyichu lhakang is 5 km away from the Paro town.
It is believed to be built by a Tibetan emperor called Songtsan Gampo in the 7th century. Kyichu lhakang is considered as the Sacred Jewel of Bhutan. At the time of the Emperor, a giant ogress was troubling Tibet and Himalayas by lying across the land. So, the Emperor built 108 Lhakangs (Temples) which were placed on the different points of the giant ogress body. 12 out of the 108 lhakangs were considered main and built in precise plans. It is also believed that these 108 temples were built over a night.
It is believed that Guru Padmasambhava visited Kyichu in the 8th century and he hidden many spiritual treasures in the lhakang. In the writing of the 25th Je Khenpo Sherab Gyaltshen had mentioned that the Kyichu lhakang was in the hands of Lhapa Kagyu tradition during the 12th century. He had also written that it was handed over to Phajo Drugom Zhigpo’s son called Nyima in the 13th century. In the book of ‘Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism’, we can find that the Jigdrel Yeshi Dorji (2nd Dudjom Rinpoche) had recorded that the temples of Kyichu could not be seen and was uncovered by Tertoen Pema Lingpa (Treasure hunter).
In the year 1644, Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal took over the temple and was re-consecrated by the 25th Je Khenpo Sherab Gyaltshen from 1836 to 1838. In the year 1968, a temple called Guru Lhakang was built next to the Kyichu lhakang by the Royal Queen Mother Ashi Kezang Choden Wangchuk. After the Guru Lhakang was built, the annual rites of great accomplishment for the deities such as Vajrasattva, Palchen Heruka and Vajrakilaya has been performed in this lhakang for the well being of our country.
As we walk towards toward the Kyichu lhakang, we can see elderly pilgrims constantly walking around the lhakang and spinning the prayers wheels. We can see a wall painting onto the right side of the entrance way as we come near the internal courtyard. It is the wall painting of a king called Gesar of Ling who was a popular Tibetan warrior king. His epic poem is believed to be the longest in the world.
The Kyichu lhakang conceals the statue of Jowo Jamba which is originally from the 7th century. It is considered as the greatest treasure of the valley. Outside the hall of the shrine, has the statue of Chenresig having 11 heads and 1000 arms. The main entrance door is beautifully covered with gold. We can see that in front of the statue are the grooves worn into the wooden floor by the generations of prostrators. . Kyichu lhakang holds some of the oldest relics and the floor of the main temple which is made of wood is inlaid with turquoise, other precious gems and stones.
Next to the main temple is the Guru Lhakang. The Guru Lhakang consists of 5 meter high statue of Guru Rinpoche and Kurukulla (Red Tara) which holds a bow and arrow made of flowers. We can see a chorten to the right side of Guru, where it contains the ashes of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. He was an honorable Nyingma Buddhist and the spiritual teacher of the Queen Mother. His former quarters are closed to the visitors which is located at the left side. We can also see a heap of iron links in the corner of the lhakang which was faked by the famous bridge builder of Bhutan called Thangtong Gyalpo.
Kyichu lhakang is a very important place for art connoisseurs, historians, pilgrims and visitors from all around the world because it is a place of culture and art. Outside the temple, we can see water pray wheels, small prayer wheels with Lenza script, Monks house, palace for Naga and Stupa for Naga. It is believed that the two orange trees which are in the courtyard of the lhakang bears fruit throughout the year.
Kyichu lhakang opens for visitors from 9:00 am till noon and 1:00 pm till 5:00 pm.