"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 of a spirit-induced ailment
in the 8th century CE, an event that resulted in the the
king, and finally the whole country, embracing Buddhism.
The Buddhist saint Pema Ligpa was born in the region and
many other famous Buddhist yogis lived and practiced
here. 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 and apple juice. Previously, buckwheat was the most common grain grown in the valleys, but in recent years rice has successfully been introduced to the area and this has supplanted buckwheat as the main cash crop.
Bumthang is also famous for its brightly colored and distinctive woven woolen garments called yethra.
The winters in Bumthang are bighting cold with a persistent strong wind and heavy snow falls. The summers, on the other hand, are warm and pleasant, and due to the high altitude, the region is spared from the worst of the torrential monsoon rains.
What to see?
Kurjey Lhakhang in Jakar is a temple built around a cave with a body print of Guru Rinpoche imbedded in the wall. Guru Rinpoche practiced meditation here on his first visit to Bhutan and as such it is the earliest Buddhist relic in the country.
Jakar Dzong, Jakar. Originally constructed in 1667, but rebuilt after being severely damaged in an earthquake in 1897, is one of the largest and most impressive in Bhutan and houses the administrative and monastic offices for the Bumthang district.
Jambey Lhakhang, Jakar. This is one of the 108 monasteries that were miraculously constructed by King Songten Gampo in one night. The monastery is located between Kurjey Lhakang and Jakar Dzong.
Mebar Tsho (Burning Lake), Tang. A place where some of Guru Rinpoche's scriptural treasures (Tib:terma) were discovered in the 15th century by the famous treasure discover Pema Lingpa