6 Reasons To Choose
Bumthang in 2021
Bumthang, located in central Bhutan, should be on your bucket list because this dzongkhag is known as Bhutan’s Switzerland for its cold weather throughout the year. Whether you are here as a solo traveler or on group travel, Bumthang has a lot to offer to its guests. Here is a list of reasons to visit Bumthang when you are in the land of the thunder dragon.
1. How to get here
There are two ways you can get to this magnificent district; via airplane or by road. If you have enough time, I suggest the road trip because the five-hour drive from Thimphu offers scenery to die for. Druk Heritage Tours is one of Thimphu’s best travel operators that will provide you with an experienced driver and a guide so you experience the Switzerland of Bhutan to the fullest.
2. Bathpalathang Airport
Bathpalathang Airport is one of the three domestic airports in the country. It opened on the 17th of December in 2011. If road trips aren’t for you, flying via airplane is the best option to visit the beautiful & untouched Bumthang.
3. 4 Valleys Of Bumthang
Bumthang has four valleys: Chumey, Tang, Ura, and Choekhor valley. Choekhor being the largest valley amongst the four and is called Bumthang Valley. Ancient glaciers engrave the valleys in Bumthang, and these places attract many tourists every year.
4. Rich History Of Bumthang
When it comes to history, no other dzongkhag comes close to Bumthang. It has one of the richest histories in the kingdom. You can find one of the oldest temples in Bumthang called the Jambay Lhakhang.
Another historically significant temple is the Kurjey Lhakhang; this temple’s sacred water is known to cure illnesses because of its holy powers. There are a lot of religious sites in Bumthang that attract Bhutanese pilgrims every year.
5. Jakar Dzong aka The Castle Of The White Bird
The Jakar Dzong in Bumthang is often referred to as The Castle Of The White Bird, it was built in 1549 overlooking the Chamkar valley. The dzong is used for administration and religious purposes. The Jakar Dzong stands at 50 meters in height, and the fortress was used as a defensive tower during the ancient times. It also has a secret passage built to provide water access to the people of Bumthang; this passage exists to this day.
The fortress holds a three-day annual Tshechu, where men, women, and children come in their finest traditional attire and jewelry. The monastic body selects dates for the festival. The Birth Anniversary of Guru Rinpoche is also observed during the sacred festival.
6. Mebar Tsho; The Burning Lake
The Burning lake, commonly known as Mebar Tsho, is located in Tang village in Bumthang. If you are in Bumthang, you have to visit the burning lake because it is a sacred and holy place. This lake is linked to the great Terton (treasurer) Pema Lingpa, the incarnation of Guru Rinpoche, who discovered holy treasure inside the lake during the late 15th century. Legend has it that Terton Pema Lingpa held a butter lamp and went into the lake. He stayed submerged for a long time and came out of the lake with the treasure mentioned above and the lamp still burning, hence the name Mebar Tsho. To this day, the holy lake holds a special place amongst Bhutanese, and they offer butter lamps at the lake
A lot more to do in Bumthang
4 Out-Of-This-World Religious Festivals In Bumthang
Being one of the most blessed dzongkhags in the country, Bumthang holds many religious festivals throughout the year. Each event occurs at different parts of the district, and visitors often leave with a smile on their face. Bumthang is a popular holiday destination for both Bhutanese and tourists. Here is a list of holy events that you need to attend to experience a spiritual awakening.
1. Tangsibi Mani
Tangsibi Mani is a four-day religious celebration in Ura Valley and includes all the Ter Chams composed by the great Terton Pema Lingpa. It takes place during the spring season in March and is conducted at the Tangsibi Lhakhang.
2. Domkhar Tshechu
Domkhar Lhakhang in Bumthang was built in the 18th century by Serkhong Truelku. The local people of Domkhar village host a three-day Tshechu annually that includes masked dances. On the third day, the temple displays a large banner with a religious figure to bless the town’s people.
3. Zhuri Duechoed
Being the most sacred place in Bhutan, Bumthang has many religious events, and Zhuri Duechoed is one of them. It is another festival observed in spring at the Zhuri Lhakhang in Chumey valley.
4. Ura Yakchoed
Ura Yakchoed is a three-day holy event held annually at the Ura Lhakhang in Ura Valley. This is a special event where the monks dress in various attire and masks, and calls upon the deity Chhana Dorjee, escorting him from Gaythen to Ura. Chhana Dorjee is the god of power and energy and also the protector of people.
3 Sightseeing And Things To Do In Bumthang
Make sure you visit the following landmarks and take in the beauty and serenity of Bumthang.
1. Kurjey Lhakhang
Kurjey, which means The Body Imprint is the most sacred and holy site in Bhutan. Here you can see many paintings of Guru Rinpoche/ Padmasambhava and, while you are there, make sure you drink the sacred water that is believed to cure illnesses. This place has a vibrant history and ancient rulers. There are three main temples at Kurjey Lhakhang and 108 stupas around it. You will spot a giant cypress tree at the site, which is believed to have grown from Guru’s walking stick. This temple holds a lot of ancient history that dates back to the 8th century, making it a must-visit place in Bumthang.
2. Wangduechhoeling Palace
Wangduechhoeling Palace is a historical place that takes you back to 1857 when it was built. It served as a battle-camp for the Trongsa Penlop Jigme Namgyal, the father of the first king of Bhutan. The palace was also the birthplace and residence of the first king Ugyen Wangchuck. Visit the castle to learn about the Wangchuck Dynasty and how the monarchs lived in the olden days.
3. Jambay Lhakhang
Built in the early 6th century, Jambay Lhakhang has a lot of religious history. Each year the temple holds a Ter Cham during the festive season. Ter Cham is also known as the Naked Dance that is done before dawn and has religious significance. There is also a Mewang/ Fire dance for infertile women who want to bear children.