(Jampey Lhakhang is said to be one of the 108 temples built by the Tibetan King Songsten Gampo in 659 AD. This temple is believed to have been built in a single day in order to pin down a giant female ogress obstructing the spread of Buddhism. Temples were built over her body parts that spread over Tibet, Bhutan and the borderlands. Jampey Lhakhang is believed to fall on her left knee. Of the 108 temples that were built, the best known are the Jokhang in Lhasa, Kyichu Lhakhang in Paro and Jambay Lhakhang in Bumthang. This temple was restored by Sendha Gyalpo after the Guru Rinpoche cured him of his ailment. It is said that Guru Rinpoche first visited Bhutan in around the mid-8th century upon the invitation of Sendha Gyalpo (the king of Bumthang) who was gravely ill. At Kurjey, the Guru, in the form of a Garuda, defeated the native deity Shelging Karpo who had commandeered the king’s spirit, thereby saving Sendha Gyalpo’s life.
The main relics include the Future Buddha, Jowo Jampa (Maitreya) from which the temple derives its name. The Temple also houses over a hundred statues of the Gods of the Kalachakra, built by the First Hereditary Monarch of Bhutan, Gongsa Ugyen Wangchuck, in order to commemorate the victory over his rivals after the battle of Changlimithang in 1885. Sometime later, Ashi Wangmo, the younger sister of the Second King of Bhutan, added the Chorten Lhakhang.
The Temple is also renowned for the famous festival that is held there annually. The Jambay Lhakhang Drup is one of the most interesting as well as important events in the valley. The five day festival is marked by many colorful dances and rituals, of which the highlight is the ‘Terchham’ or the ‘Naked Dance’ and the ‘Mewang’ or ‘Fire Blessing’ (which, besides rendering protection from bad luck and misfortune, is also believed to help sterile women conceive). True to its name, the dancers are indeed naked except for a small piece of cloth which they use to cover their faces with. The dances are performed by the locals who are specifically hand-picked by the Lama in consultation with the village elders. The dance is said to have been introduced in accordance to an 8th century prophecy by Tertoen Dorji Lingpa (yet another prominent Treasure Discoverer). Legend has it that the people in the locality were attempting to build a temple, but all their attempts were thwarted by evil spirits and demonic forces. It was in order to distract them that the rather outrageous dance was introduced. The legend goes on to say that the ruse worked, the evil spirits remained distracted throughout, and the temple was successfully completed. )