A Guide to Bumthang

The tale of Bumthang begins with the tale of Gab (king) Sindhu Raja inviting Guru Rinpoche to the valley. The king had been seriously ill. Following Guru’s visit, the king recovered, and Bumthang was blessed. 

Centrally situated, Bumthang has an array of tourist attractions, making it a prime destination for visitors.

Travel to Bumthang has been facilitated with the introduction of domestic flights, offering convenient access to the region. Alternatively, travelers can opt for a scenic journey by car. 

Attractions in Bumthang 

  • Kurjey Lhakhang 

Also known as Kurjey Monastery, it is the site where Guru Rinpoche meditated. The Monastery is the final resting place for the first three kings of Bhutan. Ugyen Wangchuck, Bhutan’s first king built one of the temples there. 

While there, expect a large cypress tree, said to have grown from Guru’s walking stick. Apart from being a holy relic, the tree is used to measure time. 

  • Mebar Tsho

Mebar Tsho, translating to burning lake, is where Pema Lingpa, one of Guru’s main terton, or treasure discoverer meditated. Legends surround the lake, as its true depth remains a mystery.

During the 16th century, Pema Lingpa discovered treasures from the lake.

Tragically, in 2015, the lake claimed the lives of a tourist and a guide, serving as a reminder of its powerful and enigmatic nature.

  • Nimalung Tshechu

Nimalung Lhakhang, nestled in the serene Chumey Valley, hosts the annual Nimalung Tshechu (Festival) each year, typically occurring in the fifth month of the Bhutanese calendar.

During the Tshechu, captivating mask dances from across the nation are showcased, adding diversity to the festivities.

  • Jakar Dzong 

The administrative hub of Bumthang, Jakar Dzong is situated above Chamkhar town. 

Open for visits throughout the year, the Dzong has been the center for religious and administrative activity since before the first king’s reign. 

During the 16th century, the dzong faced multiple attacks by Tibetan forces.

Jakar Dzong has two important parts: a tall tower called Utse on the eastern wall and a well-guarded water source. Long ago, this water was crucial for people during sieges.

In conclusion, a journey to Bumthang is a must. It promises not only a quaint time but also an exploration of diverse history distinct from that of Paro or Punakha.

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