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Bumthang, Bhutan

The Bhutanese are very proud of the four wide and fertile valleys that make up this region: Chokhor, Tang, Ura and Chhume. The main and largest valley Chokhor is home to some of the most important temples in Bhutan – because of this, this valley is often confusingly referred to as Bumthang. One of the main crops in this region is buckwheat and you may have the opportunity to taste buckwheat noodles (served with chilli – of course!) or buckwheat pancakes with the delicious local honey.

Spend days walking between some of Bhutan's most important and most sacred temples in the Chokhor valley and exploring neighbouring valleys. You are more than likely to be joined by cheeky school children and a one-mile walk may end up taking an hour with all their questioning and the photo opportunities!

Jampey Lhakhang was built in 659AD by the Tibean King Songtsen Gampo as one of the 108 temples he built throughout the Himalayas in a single day in order to pin down a troublesome demoness. Another one of these temples is the Kyichu Lhakhang in Paro. Inside the main temple are three stone steps representing the past, present and the new age. It is believed that when the middle step sinks to ground level – the gods will have become like humans and the world as we know it will end. This Lhakhang holds the oldest chapel in Bhutan and is greatly revered by the Bhutanese as Guru Rimpoche spent time here.

Three large south facing temples or Lhakhang make up the complex – one of the most sacred sites in Bhutan. Here you will find two caves – the meditation cave which contains Guru Rimpoche's body imprint or Kurjey after which the complex is named. The other is a small passage where you might like to try to pass through in order to cleanse your soul.

Jakar Dzong, The 'Dzong of the White Bird'  sits on a spur overlooking the valley. According to legend, in the middle of the 16th Century a monastery was being built by Ngagi Wangchuk in a different location when a white bird flew over the site and landed where the Dzong now stands. This was seen to be a good omen and the site of the monastery was moved. The monastery was later built into a Dzong in 1646, the views of the valley from up here are fantastic.




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