Changangkha Lhakhang, Thimphu, Bhutan, Asia.

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Changangkha Lhakhang

Top choice in Thimphu

This traditional Bhutanese temple perched like a fortress on a ridge above central Thimphu hums with pilgrim activity. It was established in the 12th century on a site chosen by Lama Phajo Drukgom Shigpo, originally from Ralung in Tibet. Parents come here to get auspicious names for their newborns or blessings for their young children from the protector deity Tamdrin (to the left in the grilled inner sanctum). Children are blessed by a phurba (ritual dagger) and given a sacred thread.

The interior murals are particularly fine. Give the resident astrologer your birth date and he will consult divination charts to decide what kind of protective prayer flags will benefit you. Don't leave without checking out the shrine to the tshomen (mermaid) in the central courtyard and then taking in the excellent view from the kora (circumambulation) path around the compound. Come early in the morning, before groups arrive, to enjoy Changangkha at its most peaceful.

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