Bumthang is regarded as the spiritual heartland of the country. It consists of four major valleys which are also the four administrative counties of the district. It was in Bumthang that the first Buddhist temples were built in the 7th Century. Today, it has as many as ninety eight temples and monasteries.
|Surface area||2708.46 sq. meters|
|Altitude||2,400 to 6,000 meters above sea level|
Getting to Bumthang
The drive to Bumthang is about 8 hours from the capital. You will pass through Wangdue Phodrang (about 2 hours away from the capital) and Trongsa (about 6 hours from the capital) districts.
Places of Interest
Jakar Dzong (fortress of the White Bird): The Dzong lies on a hillock overlooking the charming town of Jakar. It is believed that when Lam Ngagi Wangchuk (1517-1554) came to Bhutan to spread the teachings of the Drukpa Kagyupa order, he saw a white bird perch on the site where the Dzong stands today. Taking this as a good omen, he built a small temple and established a monastic center at the site. Over time, the Dzong was extended by different important personalities.
Wangdichholing Palace: The Palace lies in the Chamkhar valley. It was built in 1857 by the Trongsa Penlop Jigme Namgyel (father of the first King of Bhutan). It later became the primary palace of the first and second Kings of Bhutan.
Jambe Lhakhang: This temple was built in the 7th Century by the Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo. It is testimony of the arrival of Buddhism in Bhutan in the 7th Century. Legend has it that the temple was built to pin down the left knee of a demoness who lay across the Himalayas, and that it is one of 108 temples built by the Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo in a single day.
Kurje Lhakhang: This temple was built around a rock which bears the sacred imprint of Guru Rimpoche’s body. The Guru is believed to have meditated here in the 8th Century.
Kencho Sum Lhakhang: This temple was originally built in the 7th Century and was later restored by Terton Pema Lingpa in the 15th Century. The temple’s main shrine is holds three sacred Buddha statues which are said to have miraculously flown to the site from Kurtoe (eastern region).
Tamzhing Lhakhang: This temple was established by (treasure revealer) Pema Lingpa in 1501. He is renowned as a great Buddhist teacher, creator of numerous sacred dances, and predestined to reveal several religious texts and objects hidden by Guru Rimpoche. The Bhutanese royal family is a descendent of Pema Lingpa.
Apart from the temples, there are quaint little restaurants, textile shops selling Yathra (fabrics made of yak hair and sheep wool), milk processing units, including small Swiss cheese making plants.