Bumthang Dzongkhag (District)
Bumthang district is the sacred heart of the Kingdom of Bhutan and home to some of the Kingdom’s most ancient and Buddhist sites. This fascinating valley is considered the holiest valley in Bhutan and home to some of the oldest Buddhist temples and monasteries in the country. Many religious masters have meditated in this valley and even for Bhutanese the valley is one of the pilgrimage places in Bhutan.
Bumthang Dzongkhag consists of four main valleys Ura, Chumey, Tang and Choekhor. Choekhor is the largest of the four mountain valleys and is widely considered as ‘Bumthang Valley’. The valleys are broad and gentle carved by the ancient glaciers. The wide and scenic valleys draws a large number of tourists each year.
The name Bumthang has two probable origins; the first is that it is named after a Bumpa, a vessel for holy water which the valley resembles in shape. The second origin implies that it is the Valley of Beautiful Girls as Bum translates to ‘Girl’ and Thang means ‘flat piece of land’.
These fertile valleys are covered in fields of buckwheat, rice and potatoes. Apple orchards and dairy farms are also common sights here. This serene region is one of the most peaceful places in the kingdom.
This dzongkhag is one of the most richly endowed districts in terms of historical and spiritual legacy. Some of Bhutan’s oldest and most venerated temples are found in Bumthang, including Jambey Lhakhang. According to legend this ancient temple was built by the Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo in 659 A.D. as part of a chain of 108 simultaneously constructed temples in order to subdue an evil demoness that lay over the Himalayan region. It is the oldest lhakhang in Bhutan.
There are numerous other temples and shrines worth visiting in Bumthang and many of them are linked to Guru Rinpoche’s visit in 746 A.D.
It is about two hours drive from Trongsa to Bumthang. It is located at an altitude of 2600m – 4000m above sea level. The valley is also famous for its production of bucket noodles, honey, cheese, apples and the Yatra- woolen materials, which has multiple uses.