Chhundu Lhakhang

Western Bhutan

Eleven kilometres north of Haa is this recently rebuilt local temple, one of several shrines dedicated to the valley's protective deity. Blue-faced App Chhundu and his red-faced cousin Jowya glower from either side of the main altar.

Troublesome Chhundu was banished to Haa by the Zhabdrung after an altercation with Gyenyen, Thimphu's protector. He also had a quarrel with Jichu Drakye of Paro, resulting in Paro's guardian stealing all of Haa's water – and that's why there is no rice grown in Haa. Ceremonies dedicated to Chhundu are still carried out in nearby Yangthang, highlighting how deep Bhutan's roots are with its pre-Buddhist animist past.

The chapel is a five-minute walk down a concrete path below Chenpa (Lechuna) village, 3km north of Yangthang, just past the Yakchu Zam bridge. Call the caretaker if the temple is closed.

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