Photographs by courtesy of the Tourism Council of Bhutan
Click to play Bhutanese music:
Artist: Jigme Drukta Title: ‘Yak Legbi Ihadar’ from CD: ‘Endless Songs of Bhutan’
Courtesy link: this Bhutanese music can be sampled and purchased from our Bookstore.
Location: Central Bhutan, east of Trongsa
Distance from Trongsa: 68km (1hr 30mins)
Elevation: 2,600 m(8,530ft)
Jakar Dzong means the ‘Fortress of the White Bird,’ and it was constructed in 1667. Apparently, when a group of lamas were in the area searching for a suitable site for the new dzong, a single white bird continuously circled overhead before settling on the top of a hill. This was considered a good omen, and the hill was selected as the site for the dzong and White Bird was adopted as its name.
Wangdichholing Palace was built in 1857 as the Kingdom’s first palace and is now the residence of a small monk body that also shares residence in an adjacent Goemba, all overlooking five square chortens (Buddhist reliquary monuments) housing water-driven prayer wheels.
Jambey Lhakhang is said to be one of the 108 monasteries that were miraculously constructed by King Songten Gampo within one night. It is located in the town of Jakar in Bhutan. Jambey Lhakhang monastery is said to be placed holding down the left knee of the demoness while Kyichu Lhakang monastery pins down her left foot.
Around 750 AD, Padmasambhava or Guru Rinpoche (“precious master”) came to Bhutan. Guru Rinpoche is the most important person in the history of Bhutan. He is regarded by the Bhutanese as a revered saint, because he brought Buddhism to Bhutan.
This is a beautiful Royal mansion dating from the 19th century. Formerly a royal monastery, it now houses the Forestry Institute. Coming down to the road, there is an excellent view of the Jakar Dzong and water tower (Chhu Dzong).
Chakhar (the Iron Castle)
Chakhar is located about 3 km away from the Swiss Farm, and was the residence of King Sinda in the 8th century. It is still inhabited by one of his descendants, the Chakhar Lama.
Kenchisum Lhakhang dates back to the 8th century. The inscription on the large bell testifies to it being cast for the Tibetan Royal Family. The pillar erected next to the entrance gate could be a megalith from prehistoric times.
Tamshing Monastery is a kilometer past Kenchosum Lhakhang. It was built from 1501 to 1505 by Pemalingpa, the great Bhutanese Nyingmapa Lama. The monastery contains some of the most remarkable paintings of this period in the Himalaya.
Yathra Weaving Centre
In the village of Zungney in Chumey, there are ladies weaving yathras, the speciality of the region. The brightly coloured wool fabrics are displayed outside the houses. Quality, patterns and colour vary widely.
It was founded in 1470 by the 4th Shamar Rinpoche, an important lama of the Karma Kagyudpa sect. Pemalingpa later took over and it became Nyingmapa. The iron curtain at the entrance is said to have been cast by the saint himself.
Mebar Tsho (or The Burning Lake) is located in the southern part of the Tang Valley. It is more a gorge than a lake. It is a very sacred site and the name refers to the most famous episode of Pemalingpa’s life.
On the cliff opposite of the Tang Valley is where the Kunzangdra Monastery is located. It was founded by Pemalingpa in 1488 and is one of his residences.
A huge rock, marking one of Guru Rinpoche’s meditation spots, overlooks this temple. The saint Dorjelingpa established the temple, known as Tang Rimochen, in the 14th Century. It is half an hour’s walk from Uugyencholing Dzong, the residence of Tshokye Dorji.
The New Ura Lhakhang
Ura Valley (3,100m/19,200ft) is the highest and the most eastern of the Bumthang valleys. It is located about 2 hrs from Jakar. The Ura temple was consecrated in 1986 dedicated to Guru Rinpoche. Paintings represent different teachings and are beautifully executed.
Palrithang, Duer hot spring, Royal Heritage Trail, etc