A travel package with Lekker Adventures takes you to the quaint district of Bumthang. Otherwise known as Jakar Valley, it is one of twenty dzongkhag (districts) that make up Bhutan. It is an area rich in historical significance with an abundance of ancient temples and sacred sites scattered across the countryside. The great Buddhist teacher, Pema Linga, called it home.
The district lies at an altitude of 2,600m-4,500m and comprises four gewogs (mountain valleys); Ura, Chumey, Tang and Choekhor. The name directly translated means ‘beautiful field’ although ‘thang’ means flat place and ‘bum’ is an abbreviated form of girl. Some people refer to it as the ‘flat valley of beautiful girls’.
It is home to an isolated rural community that subsists on rudimentary crop and livestock farming. The simplicity of their lives is untouched by modern conveniences and a deep sense of spirituality envelops the district.
The district falls within an extensive network of protected areas incorporating national parks, nature preserves and wildlife sanctuaries. The region has been under state protection since the early 1960s.
The northern two-thirds of the district belong to Wangchuck Centennial Park which is buffered by pockets of biological corridors. Southern Bumthang is part of another protected area, Thrumshingla National Park. Flocks of black-necked cranes migrate to the valley in winter and are a sight to behold.
10 popular attractions in Bumthang District
- Jambay Lhakhang; a monastery built in the 7th century by Tibetan King, Songtsen Gampo, in a quest to subdue the evil spirits of the Himalayan region.
- Kurje Lhakhang; consisting of three temples that were built of the period between 1652 and the early 1990s, it is surrounded by an impressive wall.
- Tamshing Lhakhang; a temple founded in 1501 by Terton Pema Lingpa who was revered as a re-incarnation of Guru Padsambhava.It was restored in the 19th century and contains ancient paintings of 1 000 Buddhas and 21 Taras (female form of Buddha).
- Konchogsum Lhakhang; was built in the 6th century and renovated in 1995.The temple once housed a bell that, when rung, could be heard all the way in Lhasa in Tibet. Thieves damaged it while attempting to steal it and it’s now housed in the National Museum in Paro.
- Jakar Dzong; founded by the great grand-father of the first Shabdrung, it was initially built as a monastery in 1549.Today it is used as the district administrative centre and houses the regional monk body.
- Chankhar Lhakhang; this is the site of the palace of the Indian King Sindhu Raja although today it looks like an ordinary village house.The palace was built in the 14th century and named Chankhar, meaning iron castle, as the original palace was built of iron.
- Lhodrak Kharchhu Monastery; was founded by Namkhai Nyingpo Rinpoche in 1984. He was recognised at a very young age as the reincarnation of a Tibetan lama whose spiritual lineage dates back to the nearest disciples of the great 9th century master. It has increased in size over the years and is now home to almost 400 monks.
- Tangbi Goemba; this temple has two sanctuaries and a temple of terrifying deities. It contains statues of past, present and future Buddhas and clay statues that date back to the end of the 15th century. It also contains two remarkable paintings of Guru Rinpoche’s heaven and the Buddha Amitabh’s heaven.
- Ngang Lhakhang; situated 100m above the valley floor, it was built in the 15th century by Lama Namkha Samdup, a contemporary of Pema Lingpa.A three-day festival is held in winter with masked dances to honour the founder of the temple.
- Tang Rimochen Lhakhang; is the sacred place of Guru Rimpoche and named after the tiger stripe markings of the cliff.A rock in front of the temple bears the body print of the Guru and two khandroms (female celestial being).
More to explore
A holiday to Bhutan is not complete until you have explored the beautiful Ura Valley and Tang Valley. The area is characterised by rolling green sheep pastures and rustic unpaved roads. Higher up the valley yaks are more common as they are more suited to the slightly less-rich agricultural land. Hike through this magnificent countryside and discover hidden treasures. Refresh yourself with a dip in a crystal mountain pool.
Membartsho, otherwise known as the Burning Lake, is another gem. This wide flat plain situated alongside the Tang Chhu (river) is one of the most sacred pilgrimage sites of Bhutan. Treasure belonging to Guru Rinpoche was found here. Hundreds of colourful prayer flags and small clay offerings called ‘Tse Tsa’ brighten up the site.
There is so much more to see and do – this is only a small sample of the delights that await you when you travel to Bhutan.
Experience the sights and sounds of Bhutan. Lekker Adventures specialises in providing you with the complete travelling experience to Bhutan. Click here to find out more about travelling to Bhutan with the assistance of Lekker Adventures.