The king of Bumthang region in the 8th century fell terribly ill after falling out with the local guardian deity. Desperate to recover from the curse, he invited Guru Rinpoche to Bumthang to help the King regain his health. Guru Rinpoche meditated in a cave to subdue the local deity and obliged in restoring the health of the King. Imprints of Guru’s body remained in that cave and thus the name Kurje which means the imprint of the body.

In 1652, first Governor of Trongsa constructed a temple enclosing the cave. Today there are three main Lhakhang within the Kurje complex. It is also believed that the cypress tree near the entrance is an offshoot of Guru Rinpoche’s walking stick.

(Kurjey Lhakhang, which translates as ‘Temple of the Sacred Body Imprint,’ is one of the holiest sites and an important place of pilgrimage for all devout Buddhists. It was built around a rock on which Guru Rinpoche left an imprint of his body while mediating there in the 8th century, where he had arrived to save the life of Sendha Gyelpo, the king of Bumthang. At Kurjey, the Guru, in the form of a Garuda, defeated and subdued the local deity Shelging Karpo, who had commandeered the king’s life force. The king’s life having been saved, Shelging Karpo was further converted to the faith and made its staunch guardian, bound by oath to protect and propitiate the Dharma. Today Shelging Karpo is revered as the Local Deity at Kurjey Lhakhang and is regularly propitiated by visitors and locals alike.

The first of the three Temples – the Guru Lhakhang, is the oldest and was built in 1652 by Mingyur Tenpa,  the Trongsa Penlop (or Local Governor). Tucked just below the eaves is the figure of a snow lion with a Garuda above it, a depiction of the subjugation of Shelging Karpo by the Guru. At the entrance to the lower floor – Sangay Lhakhang is a small crawl-through rock passage. The belief is that crawling through the passageway results in the cleansing of one’s sins. Behind the three Buddha statues is a secret passageway that is said to lead to Tharpaling. The upper-floor sanctuary is the holiest in the complex. There are a thousand small statues of Guru Rinpoche neatly lined up along the left wall, along with statues of Guru Rinpoche, Pema Lingpa and Drolma (Tara). The main relic in the temple is the statue of Guru Rinpoche, flanked by his eight manifestations and eight Chortens. Hidden behind these figures is the very cave where the Guru meditated and left his body imprint. The far wall has images of Guru Rinpoche, his eight manifestations, his 25 disciples and various other figures connected with the Guru. The big cypress tree behind the Lhakhang is said to have sprouted from the Guru’s walking stick.

Ugyen Wangchuck, the First Hereditary Monarch of Bhutan, built the second temple, the Sampa Lhundrup Lhakhang, in 1900, while he was the Trongsa Penlop (and yet to be crowned King). On the entrance porch are paintings of the Guardians of the Four Directions and of various local deities who were converted to Buddhism by Guru Rinpoche. The white ghostlike figure on the white horse above the doorway to the right is Shelging Kharpo, along with the other Local Guardians – Yakdu Nagpo (on a black yak) and Kyebu Lungten (on a red horse). Inside the temple is a towering 10 meter high statue of Guru Rinpoche, flanked again by his eight manifestations. A smaller image of the Guru sits facing towards the direction of Tibet with a defiant stare.

The third temple in the complex was built in 1984 by Ashi Kesang Wangchuck (Queen to the Third King), under the guidance of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. She also built a wall of 108 Chortens around the whole complex and had the courtyard in front of the three temples paved with stone slabs. These Chortens, known as Jangchub Chortens are symbols that commemorate Buddha’s victory over evil forces and the absolute purity of his claim to enlightenment. They enclose the Kurje complex, transforming it into a three-dimensional Mandala, in the likeness of the Samye Monastery in Tibet. On the porch in front of the temple is a large wheel of life. At the bottom you can see a man being judged, with the white stones representing his good deeds and the black stones representing his bad deeds. There’s also a mystic spiral Mandala on the side of the entrance. Interior murals illustrate various monastic rules and regulations, including the stringent dress codes. In front of the buildings there are three large Chortens dedicated to the three Kings of Bhutan. )

POPULAR ATTRACTIONS

These are the most popular ones there plenty more to discover, hidden places

Crossing the Chele La Pass at an elevation of 3, 988 meters above sea level (from where we get to enjoy excellent views of Mount.

Haa Excursion

At Tachog Lhakhang you will be crossing a six hundred year old bridge built by the renowned iron bridge builder Drubthob (or the Realized and Accomplished One) Thangtong Gyelpo, a fourteenth century saint who built over fifty eight iron bridges throughout Tibet and Bhutan, mainly with the intent of helping pilgrims get to holy places.

Tachog Lhakhang

Haa, one of the most beautiful valleys in Bhutan, was only opened to tourists as late as 2001. The sacred worth of the valley is complemented by the two sacred temples – Lhakhang Karpo and the Lhakhang Nagpo.

Lhakhang Karpo and Lhakhang Nagpo

Kila Nunnery, popularly referred to as Chele La Gompa straddles the cliff facing Paro, with great views of Paro valley and Jele Dzong.

Kila Gompa Nunnery

Gangtey is one of the most beautiful destinations in Bhutan. It is a wide glacial valley with a central stream meandering through the open grassland and thickets of dwarf bamboo.

Gangtey Valley

Tashichho Dzong has been the seat of the government since 1952 and presently houses the throne room and offices of the King, the Secretariat and the Ministries of Home Affairs and Finance. Other government departments are housed in buildings nearby.

TashiChhodzong

Behind the Punakha Dzong stretches the Punakha Suspension Bridge, the second longest of its kind in Bhutan. Connecting the Punakha Dzong with the Punakha town, the suspension bridge spans over 350 meters and dangles above the meandering Pho Chhu river.

Suspension Bridge

The bazaar was initiated in 2011 to provide Bhutanese artisans a platform to display and sell their products. It showcases a wide range of authentic made-in-Bhutan arts and craft products.

Crafts Bazaar

Weaving is an integral component of the culture and tradition of Bhutan. With the aim to preserve and promote this living art, the Royal Textile Academy of Bhutan was instituted in May 2005 under the patronage of Her Majesty Gyalyum (Queen Mother) Sangay Choden Wangchuck as a non-government, non-profit organization.

Textile Museum

We Bhutanese treasure our traditional art forms and deem it crucial to preserve them as part of our cultural and religious heritage. It is what gives us our unique identity.

National Institute for Zorig Chusum

The Takin, which the locals refer to as ‘Drong Gyemtsi’ is the National Animal of Bhutan. It has the face of a goat and the body of a cow. The unique looking animal is associated with Drukpa Kunley, a fifteenth century saint, commonly referred to by Westerners as the ‘Divine Madman,’ and sometimes even as ‘The Original Gangsta of Tantra’ due to his unorthodox ways of teaching.

Takin Preserve

Crossing a small cantilever bridge over the Wang Chhu it is a steady climb up hill. People maintain that Zhabdrung spent upto three years in retreat at Cheri.

Cheri Monastery

This nice offbeat hike will take about two hours, depending on your stamina. There is a well-laid path and the climb isn’t very steep as well. The pathway to the monastery is lined with pine and rhododendron trees, colorful prayer-flags, cute resting spots, prayer wheels, Chortens and meditation huts.

Tango Monastery

There are very few things in life that are as satisfactory as a hot stone bath to help you unwind after a long day.

Hot Stone Bath

Built sometime in the seventh century by the Tibetan Buddhist King SongstenGyempo, KyichuLhakhang is one of the oldest temples in Bhutan and is of prime interest for art connoisseurs, historians, pilgrims and visitors alike.

Kyichu Lhakhang

Originally, the Dzong was referred to as ‘Rinche Pung Dzong,’ or ‘Rinpung Dzong,’ which translates as ‘Fortress on a Heap of Jewels.’ Over time it came to be known as Paro Dzong.

Paro Dzong

Though it originally used to be called Jakar Yugyal Dzong, over time, it has come to be known as Jakar Dzong, which translates as ‘White Bird Dzong,’ and owes its origins to the legend of how a white bird dramatically perched on that very spot where the Dzong was built and how it came to be interpreted as a good omen.

Jakar Dzong

The micro-brewery as well as the Swiss Farm was started in 1996 Fritz Maurer, a Swiss national who got married to a Bhutanese and went on to set up a brewery, and a Swiss Farm.

Bumthang Brewery

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.

Jambay Lhakhang

The museum was established with artifacts found in the manor that had been handed down from generation to generation through the ages.

Ogyen Chholing

It is one of the most important sites related to Pema Lingpa the renowned Terton (Treasure Discoverer) who is attributed to have founded the monastery.

Kunzang Dra Monastery

Though the valley of Tang is the most remote of Bumthang’s valleys, the Arcadian scenes are truly picture perfect. It is the most off-the-beaten track destinations around Bumthang, and is known for its sheep and buckwheat.

Tang

Perched on a small hillock that rises from the valley floor, Gangtey Monastery is a very important monastery of the Nyingmapa school of Buddhism – the main seat of the Pema Lingpa tradition.

Gangtey Monastery

The village of Gaselo is an ideal location for day excursions and picnics. The region is primarily agrarian and the entire landscape is characterized by the most beautiful rice fields.

Gaselo Village

Adjacent to the 108 Chortens is a memorial in honor of His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo, Jigme Singye Wangchuck and in commemoration of the hundred years of monarchy in Bhutan.

Druk Wangyal Lhakhang

Mojo Park is a live music venue and is a very popular weekend hangout for locals and travelers. You will get to try out local brews and interact with locals.

Nightlife in Bhutan

While on this trek, besides the scenic beauty of Himalayan ranges you will be visiting the two most revered Buddhist pilgrimage sites in Bhutan, Bumdra and Taktshang Monastery. Bumdra means ‘Rock of One Hundred Thousand Foot Prints’. The legends say that a hundred thousand Dakinis (angels) descended here and left their footprints on the rock […]

Bumdra Trek

Located in South West of Paro and covering an area of roughly 1706 sq. km, Haa is one of the smallest Dzongkhag in the country. This tiny region is one of the most beautiful and isolated areas in the kingdom, adorned with pristine alpine forests and tranquil mountain peaks.  Haa is the ancestral home of […]

Haa

Taktsang translates to The Tiger’s Nest. The monastery is situated 900 meters above the Paro valley precariously perched on a cliff. It has an equally fascinating history.

Paro Taktsang Monastery

Taktsang translates to The Tiger’s Nest. The monastery is situated 900 meters above the Paro valley precariously perched on a cliff. It has an equally fascinating history.

Paro Ta Dzong National Museum

The memorial chorten in Thimphu was built in the honor of the Third King of Bhutan. The Tibetan style white washed stupa is crowned with a golden crescent moon and the sun.

Memorial Chorten

The 51 meter statue of Buddha Shakyamuni sits atop a hill overlooking the Thimphu valley. Buddha Dordenma statue is one of the most prominent landmarks of Thimphu city.

Buddha Dordenma Statue