Phallus paintings in Bhutan are esoteric symbols, which have their origins in the Chimi Lhakhang monastery near Punakha, the former capital of Bhutan. The village monastery was built in honour of Lama Drukpa Kunley who lived in the 15-16th century and who was popularly known as the "Mad Saint" or “Divine Madman” for his unorthodox ways of teaching, which amounted to being bizarre and shocking.
These explicit paintings, though embarrassing to many urbanites now (this folk culture is now informally discouraged in urban centres), can be seen painted on the walls of houses and buildings throughout Bhutan, particularly in villages, and are credited as Kunley's creations. Traditionally symbols of an erect penis in Bhutan have been intended to drive away the evil eye and malicious gossip.
The belief that such a symbol brings good luck and drives away evil spirits is so much ingrained in the psyche of the common populace in Bhutan that the symbols are routinely painted outside walls of the new houses and even painted on number plates of trucks.
Click on the calendar image to see 12 phallus paintings of Bhutan.
Several anecdotes are told of the zany ways of Drukpa Kunley. It is said that on a particular occasion he was gifted a sacred thread to put around his neck. However, he shocked the people by saying that he would tie the thread around his penis with the fond hope that it would bring him "luck with the ladies". The phallus painting is also termed as an institutionalised graffiti. It is seen painted in different designs, and an unusual design seen is one with a dragon riding the phallus. One common feature noticed is that the phallus is always seen ejaculating.