Bhutan Tourism Means Penis Art and Phallus Paintings

March 24, 2012

Penis art and phallic paintings in Bhutan

How can I write about Bhutan, without writing about one of things that most shocks Western tourists who visit? Talking about Bhutan's penis art on a family travel blog, might seem strange, but it is a normal part of Bhutanese life and seen everywhere like the beautiful Himalayan mountains there.

I think it might have been more surprising to us parents ( although I had read about it before going) than to our child, who was as nonchalant about it as she was about seeing the nudity of David in Florence or other such art and sculpture around the world.

As a global kid she understands diversity and multiculturalism and even enjoyed it when we accidentally ended up at a German nudist camp in Portugal. She has seen all kinds of unusual things from bone churches to harems and mosques to participating in local festivals with exotic costumes etc, so just accepts it all as another fascinating facet of our world.

These large phallic symbols are often put on the outside of the door of houses, shops and eateries in Bhutan to protect them from evil spirits, prevent arguments, and promote fertility. They come in all kinds of sizes, eye-popping embellishments and color schemes. Some are even decorated with bows or colorful dragons.

It's actually not that unusual in ancient societies and has long been an important symbol in many Asian societies in this part of the world. Hindus in both nearby India and Nepal worship lingam.

Have you heard about or seen these famous phallic symbols in Bhutan?


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Himalayan Dragon Tours

Hi ST3,

The phallus has long story and to cut the long story short. Its significance is for fertility and to drive away an evil spirit.
Thank you
Himalayan Dragon Tours and Treks

Jeanne @soultravelers3

So true, HDT and I linked to Wikipedia to those who wanted the long story of why. ;)

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