Jampa Lhakhang Festival 


 

Jampa lhakhang is located in Bumthang and is situated on the way to the Kurjie Lhakhang. It’s a ten minutes drive to the temple from the Chamkhar town.

Jampa Lhakhang is one of the oldest temples in the kingdom. It was founded by, Songtsen Gampo, a Tibetan King in the 7th century AD. The king was destined to build 108 temples known as Thadhul- Yangdhul (temples on and across the border) in a day to subdue the demoness that was residing in the Himalayas. The temple is one of the two of the 108 built in Bhutan. The other is the Kichu lhakhang in Paro, believed to have been built on the same day.

Legend has it that Guru Rinpoche visited the site several times and deemed it exceptionally sacred. Chakhar Gyab, the king of the Iron Castle of Bumthang renovated the temple in the 8th century AD.

The first king of Bhutan, Gongsa Ugyen Wangchuck constructed the Dus Kyi Khorlo (Kala Chakra- Wheel of Time) inside the temple, to commemorate his victory over his rivals Phuntsho Dorji of Punakha and Alu Dorji of Thimphu after the battle of Changlimithang in 1885. Later, Ashi Wangmo, the younger sister of the second king of Bhutan, built the Chorten lhakhang.

The main relics include the future Buddha, Jowo Jampa (Maitreya) from whose name the present name of the temple is derived.

The lhakhang also houses more than one hundred statues of the gods of Kalachakra built by the first king, in 1887. Here, one of the most spectacular festivals is hosted called Jambay lhakhang Drup that lasts for five days beginning from 22nd October till the 26th. The highlight of the festival is the fire ritual that is held in the evening where crowds gather to witness the ritual together with the naked dance.


Kurjey Festival

 

The temple is located at Kurjey in the Chokhor valley in Bumthang district. It is 15 minutes drive from Chamkhar town.
The history of the temples at Kurjey is associated with Sindhu Raja and Guru Rinpoche. Sindhu Raja invited Guru Rinpoche from Nepal to Bhutan. Upon invitation, Guru Rinpoche visited Bumthang and meditated in a cave that resembled a pile of vajras (dorjis). After subduing the evil spirits and demons, imprints of the Guru Rinpoche’s body remained. Thereafter, the name came to be known as Kurjey meaning-imprint of the body. The present place of the Lhakhang remains as a blessed and historical site.

There are three main temples at Kurjey. The oldest temple was constructed by the Minjur Tenpa in 1652 on the site where Guru Rinpoche meditated when he was serving as the first Trongsa Penlop (Governor of Trongsa).
The second temple was founded by Gongsa Ugyen Wangchuck in 1900 while serving as the 13th Trongsa Penlop.  This temple is the most sacred as it was built in the place where Guru Rinpoche left his body imprint.
The third temple was built in the 1990s. It was sponsored by the Queen Mother Ashi Kezang Choden Wangchuck. It houses the images of Guru Rinpoche, King Thrisong Detsen and Pandit Santarakshita and the Sixteen arhats or the Siddhis.
In front of the temples are Chortens dedicated to the first three kings of Bhutan.

Kurjey festival is an important festival for local people of Bumthang and also for the rest of the Bhutanese. Many tourists and Bhutanese come together to witness the colorful festival for blessing and appreciation of the different mask dances. One will not only get the blessings by witnessing the age old mask dances and traditional Bhutanese dances but also enjoy this unique culture while also enjoying the beauty of Bhutan’s spiritual district.


Matsutake Festival

 

Celebrate alongside the people of Ura as yet another mushroom season begins, bringing with it the opportunity not only to sample some truly delicious meals but to cultivate a deeper insight into the rhythms of Bhutanese village life. Learn to identify and harvest the fabled wild Matsutake mushrooms of Bhutan. Prized by gourmets in Japan, this fungi is native to the forests of Ura valley in central Bhutan. Hike the valley’s fragrant trails and give in to the thrill of discovering your own private patch of this most coveted of mushrooms. And if you are tired of the traditional mushroom hunt, head over to the region’s exquisite temples and monasteries which rank among the most prized treasures of Bhutan.

Things to do and see

Matsutake Festival gives the cheerful Uraps a reason to celebrate and have some fun with the festival spanning two days during 4th week of August (August 24 to 25). After an exciting day of picking mushrooms with the people of Ura, learn about their art and crafts, their traditional lifestyle, folk songs and dances, regional food and drink. Participate in the song and dance, glitter and gaiety as the villagers gather in the festival arena, in full costume. Sample freshly gathered mushrooms; try some wild honey or high altitude medicinal herbs and potions, along with other local dishes of wheat and barley. Shop for textiles, cane, bamboo and other regional products. Take a step back in time and stay in a charming traditional home and experience the welcome of some of the world’s most hospitable people. For a truly relaxing night, try one of the open air hot mineral baths in a traditional tub.


Nimalung Festival

 

Nimalung Lhakhang is located in Chumey in Bumthang. It is approximately a 15 minute drive from the road that branches off from the village of Chumey.
The Lhakhang was co-founded by Dasho Gonpo Dorji and Doring Trulku Jamyang Kunzang, the third mind reincarnation of Terton Jigme Lingpa in 1935.
Doring Trulku visited Bhutan from Kham in Tibet. He came via the Monlakarchung pass and met Jamyang Tshundru and his son Choney Pelden who invited him to Shugdra. They later became his disciples. Doring Trulku left Shugdra for Nyimalung. He set to read the text but couldn’t complete reading it a hundred times as he had to perform rituals after the demise of Dasho Jamyang, the father-in-law of the Second King Jigme Wangchuck.
It was during the funeral ceremonies that Doring Trulku met Dasho Gonpo Dorji, son of Dasho Jamyang.  Gonpo Dorji, on becoming the new hereditary Dungpa (sub district administrator) of Chumey immediately thought of laying the foundation of a Lhakhang. Along with Doring Trulku he decided to open a monastic institution to uphold the school of Buddhism enriched by Kuenkhen Longchen and Jigme Lingpa.
The main relic of the two-storied temple is the statue of Guru Rinpoche. The monastery is decorated with murals of the Nyingmapa and Drukpa traditions. There are also paintings of Guru Rinpoche and his disciples, the lineage of Terton Pema Lingpa, and several masters affiliated with the monastery.

One of the most important festivals held at the Lhakhang is the Kaling Zhitro Drubchen. It was initiated by Doring Trulku and he was the first person to have started the rite in Bhutan. It is held on the first fifteen days of the first month of the Bhutanese calendar.

The festival is held every year in the 5th month of the Bhutanese calendar, where the nine meters high and twelve meters wide Guru Rinpoche Thongdrol (large Scroll Painting) is unfurled. The Thongdrol which was donated by Lopen Pemala was consecrated in June 1994 in the presence of a large crowd of villagers by Lhalung Thuksey Rinpoche, the mind reincarnation of Pema Lingpa. During the festival, a series of mask dances are performed.


Nomad Festival

 

Wangchuck Centennial Park will be organizing the Annual Nomads’ Festival at the Head Office Ground at Nasiphel, Chhokhortoe geog in Bumthang.

The Nomads’ festival will showcase the tradition and culture of the nomads including dairy products, handicrafts, weaves, and nomadic way of life. It will also have other major attractions like traditional games-soksumdegorpungdo,zigdumkhuru, archery in traditional bows, horse riding, yak riding, and dances by the Nomads’ and local community  besides hordes of Bumthang cuisines like Zambulikhuli, puta, pin etc.

Visitors interested in trekking can do so along the recently restored Orochhoto and Ngang lhakhang-Tandingang (popularly called Bumthang cultural trek) trail. Accommodation, food, and hot stone bath facilities are available in the farm houses at reasonable rates. During the three day mega event hygienic food stalls put up by public will cater to the visitors.

The festival will also have representatives from the various Renewable Natural Resource (RNR) sectors showcasing newer farm technologies, machines, and products.

Bumthang is now connected by Air from Paro and Yonphula . Nasiphel is 1 hour drive from Bumthang. Bumthang has other attractions like Kurjay monastery, Jambay monastery, Mebartsho(Burning lake), Ogyenchholing museum(Tang), Wangdichholing palace etc. beside others.


Ura Yakchoe  

 

Ura valley in Bumthang is known for its famous dance known as the Ura Yakchoe. This festival that is held annually in the month of May is a festival where a sacred and an important relic is put on display for the people to receive blessings.  Myth has it that one day an old woman while sitting outside her house had a visitor, a lama who asked her for a glass of water. When she came out with a glass of water, the lama had vanished leaving behind a sack. Out of curiosity, she checked the bag and found a statue that is now being displayed annually. This relic has been passed on from generation to generation and now it’s owned by the descendants of the woman.