The Yotongla pass and a series of hair-raising bends at 11,500 feet separate the valleys of Trongsa and Bumthang. Views of Trongsa valley on the ascent are superb. Bumthang has an individuality that charms its visitors and separates it from other regions. Comprised of four smaller valleys, the deeply spiritual region of Bumthang is shrouded in religious legend.
This is one of the most beautiful valleys in the kingdom. It is also the religious heartland where many saints and masters meditated leaving their imprints as sacred places of worship and pilgrimage. Apart from the Dzong at Jakar, smaller monasteries are situated all over the valley. Tales of Padmasambhava dominate these holy shrines. The valley is home to the Jambay and Kurjey Lhakhangs where body imprints of Guru Rimpoche remains preserved upon a rock.
Monuments to visit in Bumthang
- Jakar Dzong: which literally means “The Castle of White Bird”? The current structure was built in 1667 and then visits Lamey Goemba, a large palace and monastery built in 18th century by Dasho Phuntsho Wangdi.
- Jambay Lhakhang: It was built by King Srongsen Gampo of Tibet in the year 659 on the same day as Kichu Lhakhang in Paro. The temple was visited by Guru Rimpoche during his visit to Bumthang and was renovated by Sindhu Raja after Guru Rimpoche restored his life force. Under the temple is said to be a lake in which Guru Rimpoche hid several Terma. In October one of the most spectacular festival, “Jambay Lhakhang Drup” is staged here.
- Chakhar ( Iron Castle ) Lhakhang : It is the site of the palace of the Indian King, the Sindhu Raja who invited Guru Rimpoche to Bumthang. The Original palace was made of Iron and hence the name Chakhar. The saint Dorji Lingpa built the Current building in 14th century. Its correct name is Dechen Phodrang. We then visit Kurjey Lhakhang that is named after body print of Guru Rimpoche, built in 1652 by Minjur Tempa.
- Tamshing Lhakhang: ( Temple of the good message), established in 1501 by Pema Lingpa and is the most important Nyingmapa temple in the kingdom.
- Wangdicholing Palace : The extensive palace of Wangdicholing was built in 1857 on the site of a battle camp of the penlop of Trongsa, Jigme Namgyal. It was the first palace in Bhutan .
- Kurjey Lhakhang: This monastery is named after the body print of Guru Rimpoche, which is preserved in a cave inside the oldest of the three buildings that make up the temple complex.
- Konchogsum Lhakhang: This monastery having the statues of three Buddhas, the past, present and future.
- Tamshing Goempa: It was established in 15th century by Pema Lingpa and is most important Nyingma goemba in the Kingdom. He himself built this monastery with the help of Khandroms (female celestial beings).
Places to visit
- Mermbertsho: Which literally means, “The burning Lake ”? It was here in this lake that Terton Pema Lingpa (Treasure Discoverer) discovered the Tresures hidden by Guru Rimpoche. Over night in a Farm House. In the evening, drink Local alcohol called “Ara”. Dinner and over night in a Farm House.
- Swiss Farm: This project overseen by Mr. Fritz Maurer, one of the first Swiss work in Bhutan . The project has introduced brewing, farming machinery and fuel-efficient, smokeless wood stoves to the valley. The milk from large Jersey cattle is used in Bhutan ‘s only commercial cheese factory.