Jakar

Bumthang is one the most historic district, if the number of ancient temples and sacred sites is counted, and therefore it is sometimes called the spiritual and cultural heartland of Bhutan. Bumthang consists of the four valleys of Ura, Chumey, Tang and Choekhor, although often the entire district is known as Bumthang.
Jakar town (2800m) is located in spacious tree covered Choekhor valley and is the capital, and center of four valleys of Bumthang district. Almost all the hotels are also located here and most significant Buddhist sites are also located nearby. The current bazaar or town is a single lane street of mostly wooden houses and the area called Chamkhar. There are plans to relocate the town.
Bumthang is famous throughout Bhutan for its distinctive and brightly colored woven wool items called Yathra. Bumthang farms yield buckwheat, dairy products, honey and apples among other products. The Bumthangkha is the widely spoken dialect here and differs from Dzongkha and other dialects spoken in the rest of the country

Bumthang is a district in the north-central region of Bhutan, and due to the great number of sacred sites there, it is often referred to as the country's spiritual heartland. "Bumthang" directly translates as "bumpa-shaped valley". "Thang" is valley or plain, and "bum" is an abbreviation of "bumpa" (a vessel used in consecration ceremonies). The Bumthang region is known as the spiritual heart of the kingdom, as it was here that Guru Rinpoche cured a local king  (Sindhu Raja ) of a spirit-induced ailment in the 8th century, an event that resulted in the king, and finally the whole country, embracing Buddhism. The famous Nyingma saint Pema Lingpa was born in the region and many other famous Buddhist yogis lived and practiced here, including Longchen Rabjam, Dorji Lingpa to name few. Consequently, the area is a repository of sacred artifacts and monasteries.
The region is also known for its lush valleys and is a major producer of apples juice, apple cider, and Swiss cheeses. Buckwheat was the most common grain grown and stable diet of the people here. Bumthang is also famous for its brightly colored and distinctive woven woolen garments called Yathra.

There are four valleys in Bumthang: Chhumey, Choekor (the location of Jakar), Tang and Ura. The winters in Bumthang are cold with a persistent strong wind and some snow falls. The summers, on the other hand, are warm and pleasant, and due to the high altitude and being further interior, the region is spared from the worst of the torrential monsoon rains.
Chumey is the first valley you approach from western Bhutan. Upon decent from Yotongla pass, first you will see a small roadside temple of Cuchi at Gaytsa. Gaytsa plain and fields are also nesting grounds for some of the migratory birds including Black-necked crane. On the slopes above Gaytsa is Buli temple, which has small number of Monks. Higher up along the ridge, you can see red-roofs of Tharpaling Goemba, founded by popular Dzongchen master and philosopher Longchen Rabjampa in 14th century. On the right side of the valley, you will see a large building of Domkhar Trashicholing Dzong, once the summer residence of 2nd King Jigme Wangchuk. From Domkhar village, you will see a small settlement of Chhume with large schools along the road side. Then you will pass a small hydro-power plant and reach Zungney village, which is now a days is a popular tourist stop to see Yathra weaving (deep colored wool textile). You can see the weavers at work here and shop for textiles. On a promontory, on the opposite side of the river is seen a three-storey Prakar Goemba monastery. Higher up on the hill above the Praker, which takes around good 20 minutes in Nimalung Monastery.
Choekor Valley: from Chummey valley, climb and cross small pass of Kiki la (2860) and descend  into Choekhor valley. This is the administrative center of Bumthang district, where a large white Jakar Dzong can be seen from a far.  The town itself is fairly small, one street with around 50-60 shops with restaurants. In Choekor valley is located Jakar Dzong, Wangdicholing, Lamey Gomba (now forest Office), Jampay Lhakhang, Chakar, Kurjey, Thangbi Monastery, Tamshing, Konchugsum temple and most recently a large monastery of Kharchu Dratshang has made an addition to several other monasteries and temples in the valley. There are wood craft centers, wool processes, schools, farms including swiss farms to see in and around Jakar. North of Jakar, along the chokhor river upstream, reached by 4hrs of walk or drive of 1hr or so along the feeder road is Ngalakhang temple with relatively large Draphey village. Membartsho is located on the road junction between Ura and Tang from Jakar to the south east.
Tang Valley is accessible by a feeder road from Jakar. It is higher the chokhor valley and there is not much of agriculture here. There are however lots of buckwheat fields. There are lots of people raising sheep in this valley and few large farms too. After leaving the east west road, you climb up the dirt road and cross the ridge into Tang Valley. You will pass through several villages such as Drangchel, Gemtshong, Kizum and the road gets more rougher as you head to Gamling and Wobithang. You can visit Tang Rimochen temple and Ugyencholing or Orgyencholing manor.  Kunzangdra Goemba, an important Pema Lingpa temple is located on the high ridge above Dangchel, which is reached by one hour of stiff up hill walk each way. Thowadrak Hermitage clings on the highest rocks above the north-end of Tang valley and takes around 6hrs of return trek.

Ura Valley is the highest of the four valleys in Bumthang. It is located on the road to eastern Bhutan, which takes about 2hr. each way from Jakar. Ura has a large and interesting village with one village temple/monastery. Shingkhar village is a 9km up a good gravel side road from Ura.

Attractions in Bumthang, around and from Bumthang

  • Bumthang Trek A 3-day trek. Bumthang Cultrual Trek is through Choekhor and Tang valley, passing and visiting Bumthang's remote villages, ancient temples and even a manor of Ugencholing. This trek is so named becaus

  • Chamkhar or Chakar Lhakhang was originally a nine-storey 'iron castle' palace of 8th century King Sidhu Raja, which was replaced by more modest building in 4th century. The present building was constructed in early 20th century.

  • Jakar (Bumthang) to Mongar It takes about 7hrs to cover the distance of 192kms from Jakar (Bumthang) to Mongar. From Jakar, we follow the east bank of Chamkhar Chu river, and after around 20mins, climb up the ridge to Tangsibi

  • Jakar Dzong "Jakar Dzong" literally meaning castle of the white bird is located on picturesque ridge overlooking the Chokhor valley. The current structure built in 1667 (refurbished in 1683) is said to be one of

  • Jampey Lhakhang Spelt Jampey or Jambay Lhakhang is one of the 108 temples, built by Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo in 659AD on a single day, to pin down ogress to earth forever. It was divined that supine demoness was c

  • Kenchoksum Temple Ten minutes walk south from Tamshing is a small temple of Konchogsum. The temple was restored in 1995 and looks new, but it actually dates back to 7th century. This temple has many interesting stories

  • Kurjey Lhakhang Complex is named after the sacred power place where Guru Rinpoche (8th century) left the imprint of his body (kurjey) on the solid rocks, which can be seen from inside the shrine. There are three large templ

  • Membartsho 'Burning Lake' is actually a deep pool in the gorge of Tangchu river. Although not much to see for tourists, it is a sacred site where Pema Lingpa, in early 16th century had retrieved sacred religious

  • Prakar Goemba is visible on the promontory on the opposite side of the river from Zugney village and was built in 17th century. Legend has it that the monkeys helped to build it.

  • Swiss Farm Area a small factory, founded by Swiss Bhutanese produces variety of Swiss cheeses, clover honey, apple cider, wine, apple brandy and local beer. It is an interesting place to see, sample and purchase some

  • Tamshing Goempa Located opposite Kurjey Lhakhang, this temple was founded by Bhutan's own religious treasure discoverer, Terton Pema Lingpa in 1501. Believed to be the reincarnation of Guru Rinpochey, he discovered m

  • Tang Valley Tang is one of the four valleys of Bumthang district and it is higher than Choskhor (Jakar). From Jakar, following the west-east road towards Ura for about 10km, unpaved road on the left (north) branc

  • Tharpaling

    Tharpaling Tharpaling Monastery is situated above Chumey valley at 3,600m. A 10 km. feeder road goes up to the monastery from Gyetsa village in Chumey valley, but it may be impracticable in summer due to rains a

  • Ura Village Located in a broad valley (3100 m), Ura is the highest of the four valleys in Bumthang district. The village of Ura has about 50 or so clusters of traditional homes with cobbled walkways, that gives s

  • Wangdichholing Palace Wangdichholing was built in 1857, on the site of the battle camp of the Trongsa Penlop Jigme Namgyel, father of the first King of Bhutan, who was also born here. It was the first palace in Bhutan that

  • yatra_weaving

    Yathra Weaving at Zungney Yathra is colourful wool weaving, a pattern native of central Bhutan with deep colors. In the village of Zugney in Chumey valley, there are shops, where you can see the weavers- at-work. You may be a