About Bumathang / Jakar
Jakar is the largest town in Bumthang and is also the capital. Inside the Jakar Dzong are preserved ancient Bhutanese architecture and design in a small courtyard. There are two ancient monasteries in Jakar called the Jambay monastery and the Kurjey monastery. These are the two oldest monasteries in the whole Kingdom and are worth a visit. The Jambay was said to be built by a Tibetan king in the seventh century. The Kurjey Lhakhang comprises of three temples surrounded by a wall of 108 chortens, architecture is also rich. The Kings of Bhutan as per tradition are cremated at Kurjey Lhakhang. Jarkar is also known for the cottage industries for making honey, cheese, fruit juices, etc. Here one can come across Apple brandy, locally brewed wine and beer, which is indigenous variety of Bhutanese liquor and is worth trying. The drive to Bumthang is beautiful. The scenic road through forest and over a mountain passes and next the scenery changes to the gentle spruce and fir covered slopes of the region. This region is well worth spending a few days exploring the Jakar Dzong, Lamey Goemba, Jambay Lhakhang and other places of interest.
Places to Visit Bumathang / Jakar
The Jambay Temple or Temple of Maitreya is located in Bumthang in Bhutan, and is said to be one of the 108 temples built by Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo in 659 CE on a single day, to pin down an ogress to earth forever.
Bumathang & Jakar
Jakar also officially referred to as Bumthang is a town in the central-eastern region of Bhutan. It is the district capital of Bumthang District and the location of Jakar Dzong, the regional dzong fortress. The name Jakar roughly translates as "white bird" in reference to its foundation myth, according to which a roosting white bird signaled the proper and auspicious location to found a monastery around 1549.
Chokhor Valley is a spiritual heart land in the Bhutan. It is brimming with several precious and ancient Buddhist sites. Bumthang is a religious hub of Bhutan and comprises of some of the oldest temples of Buddhists. Apart from the Jakar, the principal town in the Chokhor Valley along with its undulating terrain with its numerous temples and the apple trees is a sheer delight for the tourists. The visitors who come here can marvel at the scenic Trongsa Dzong that lies on the top of the steep ridge which drops off amidst the clouds in the southern end. This scenic town is often regarded as an overnight destination for the travellers who come here all the way to the eastern and central Bhutan.
Bumthang Owl Trek
To enjoy unspoiled natural beauty and pictorial scenic vista in Bhutan, one of the best options is to set out for the short yet fascinating Bumthang Owl trek. The trek starts from Manchung and travels through Dhur village, Drangela Pass and reaches Tharpaling monastery. On the trekking trail one can enjoy unlimited and undisturbed scenery with dense forests on both sides with blue pine, birch, maple, spruce, juniper, bamboo and famous rhododendron trees. One can visualize the exceptional beauty of Mt. Gangkar Puensum, which is ideally the highest unclimbed peak in the world. Avian wildlife is a key attraction of this trek. The trekking trail is filled with an array of fascinating flora and fauna and multiple ancient Buddhist temples.
If you are planning to visit Bumthang, then the best time would be when the annual Nomad Festival is being held. Bumthang is the part of central Bhutan and less than 10 hr drive from Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan. This is the time of the year when you get to see the real nomadic people coming together from all parts of Bhutan. However, primarily the nomads from North West and North East Himalayas dominate the festival with their presence.During the festival you get to witness the unforgettable shows when the nomads put on the traditional performance. You get to understand their culture, traditions, and way of living. The colourful outfits, cheerful environment, and all in the backdrop of incredible landscape make the experience overwhelming.
One of the most sacred sites in Bhutan, Krje Lhakhang consists of three temples which are surrounded by 108 Chorten walls. The first and the oldest structure of the three, was constructed on the rock where Guru Rinpoche meditated. The second building is also called the Sampa lhundrup temple and houses a colossal statue of Guru Rinpoche.
The third building is known as Ka Gon Phur sum lhakhang dedicated to the happiness of all living beings in the kingdom.It is one of the most beautiful and sacred sites in Bumthang. It offers much to explore and learn about Guru Rinpoche and the culture, tradition and faith of Bhutanese people. Explore various images, statues and elaborate paintings of deities.Located 5 kms from Bumthang district on the bank of Chamkhar River. It takes 12 minutes drive from Bathpalathang Airport.
Bumthang Cultural Trek
A trek through the “cultural heartland “of Bhutan, is always a precious one. This short and simple trek is one of the preferred trekking trails to enjoy the natural beauty of Bhutan with its trout- filled rivers and verdant valleys. Apart from this the trekking trail also provides a fascinating glimpse of some of ancient Buddhist temples and age old monasteries. Passing through the countryside of Bumthang, one can enjoy the scenic pleasure of blue pine forest and scrub bamboo along with several small villages displaying their traditional lifestyle. For all those nature lovers this is a splendid trail to visualize the beauty of Thimphu, Paro valleys and Punakha.
Kurjey Tshechu is a popular festival celebrated in Kurjey temple in Chokhor valley of Bumthang district. There is huge historical significance attached to this temple as well as the festival. According to the legends Guru Rimpoche meditated here for the suppression of evil spirits in this region. There are three major temples in Kurjey.
The first temple was built in 1652 on the location where Guru Rimpoche meditated, the second one on the place where Guru left his body imprint and the third built in 1990 which holds images of Guru Rimpoche. The Kurjey festival is one of the important religious occasions for the locals of the place. It is a social gathering as well as a time to seek blessing and enjoy victory of good over evil. It is a festival that displays the golden traditions of Bhutan and the rich cultural heritage.
Jambay Lhakhang Festival
Located on the way to Kurjie Lhakhang, in Bumthang, Jambay Lhakhang is one of the oldest temples founded in 7th century by Songtsen Gampo, a Tibetan King. As per legends, the king was destined to construct 108 temples in a single day, to suppress a demon in the Himalayan region. This temple is one of those 108 temples. Legend Guru Rimpoche is believed to visit this destination and considered it a sacred and extremely pious destination. The temple got renovated again in 8th century AD. The temple has more than hundred statues of Gods and Goddesses but the main attraction is the relic of future Buddha. This is a spectacular festival which is celebrated for five days.