May 23, 2007

Bumthang : Land of Buddhist Historical Site

Bumthang is historically the heart land of the nation and home to some of the oldest Buddhist temples and monasteries. Its gentle slope hills offer plenty of walking opportunities to the many temples that dot this valley. "Bumthang" directly translates as "beautiful field". "Thang" means field or flat place, and "Bum" is said be an abbreviation of either "bumpa" (a vessel for holy water, thus describing the shape and nature of the valley), or "bum" ("girl", indicating this is the valley of beautiful girls). The valley is also famous for buckwheat yield and its production of honey, cheese, apples. and the yathra- a woolen material that has multiple uses which is popular amongst the tourist and visitors.

Bumthang District consist of Four Gewogs : 1. Chhume Gewog 2.Choekor Gewog 3.Tang Gewog 4. Ura Gewog

Cultural and historic sites in the Bumthang dzongkhag includes:

Jambay Lhakhang: It was built in second century by the famous Tibetan king Tringson Duetsen and he was believed to be the first man to take the initiative to spread the Buddhism in the Himalayan region of Tibet. Among the 108 temples he built two of them were found in Bhutan. So one in Bumthang, that is Jambay Lhakhang enshrining the statue of Jho Jamba(future Buddha) as a central figure. The temples were so built to bring a control over the evil spirits dwelling in the Himalayan dominion who constantly posed threat to spread of Buddhism.

Kurjay Lhakhang: Kurjay means “the body print”and the history dates back to eight century when Guru Rinpochhe visited Bhutan for the first time on repeated requisition of Bumthang king, Syendha Gyalpo. Guru was invited as the King was seriously ill as a result of his ill-behavior to the local deity Shelging Karpo who took away his spirit. So on arrival to Bumthang, Guru meditated in a cave presently located in the Kurjay Lhakhang where he showed his miracle power to subdue the local deity who was supposed to have caused the illness to the king of Bumthang. Upon showing the miracle by exhibiting his eight forms and other beautiful ladies dancing, local deity was engrossed in watching Gurus manifestation. Guru Rinpochhe in the mean time took the form of Garuda, the mythical bird and caught him in his neck and brought under his control. From that time onwards the king was recovered and as a token of his respect, the king offered his daughter to Guru Rinpochhe as his spiritual consort.
After that Guru Rinpochhe meditated in several places in Bumthang, especially in Kurjay Lhakhang one can find the body-print of Guru Rinpochhe and one will also find the walking stick of Guru Rinpochhe that has grown into a living cypress.

Tamzhing Lhakhang:It was built in 1501 by Terton Pema Lingpa who was believed to be the reincarnation of Guru Rinpochhe. The Lhakhang is located on the opposite side of Kurjay Lhakhang. Pema Lingpa discovered several treasures which were hidden by Guru Rinpochhe and the famous Burning Lake is one of the places from where he discovered the treasure when he was just a seven year old boy. Pema Lingpa was born in Bumthang and played a significant role in strengthening the spread of the Buddhism in Bhutan.

Membar Tsho (Burning Lake): Where sacred scriptures hidden by Guru Rimpoche in the 8th century where later recovered by Pema Lingpa in the 15th century, the story goes that terton pema lingpa dived into the lake with a butter lamp in his hand to discover the scared scriptures hidden by Guru Rinpoche when he was here in Bhutan, he came out from the lake with the lamp still burning thus the lake was known as Member Tsho, Meaning The Bruning lake.

Ura Village: It is about 50 kilometers from Choekhor valley and takes about one and half hour. Located in a broad valley, Ura village is a clustered of traditional houses fenced by cobblestone streets that give the village a mediaeval atmosphere. The women in Ura village cover their head with white cloth piece to protect from the harsh cold wind and carries sheepskin (behind their back) used as cushion and as well as to protect their cloth from the loads they carry. This is the venue for Ura Yakchoe Festival.

Tharpaling/Chudrak Goenpa/ Kedhephu: Situated at more than 3600m the Chudrak Goenpa was built by Lorepa, a Drukpa Kagye lama from Tibet in 1234. It is also the spot where Guru Rimpoche had meditated during this period. Little above the Goenpa is the Kedhephu from where you can see the peaks of other surrounding mountains

Petseling/Bathela: It takes about three and half hours to reach Petseling Goenpa from Chamkhar valley, and a good day for a short hike above the Goenpa to reach at Bathela mountaintop, from where you can have the panoramic view of the surrounding mountains.

Kunzang Drak: It is two hours walk above Chel Tang Valley. It is one of the most important sites related to Pemalingpa the great treasure discoverer in Bhutan, who also constructed the Goenpa in 1488. Most of his sacred relics are kept here including the gilded stone bearing his footprint.

Wangthang Goenpa: It is around 50 km from the Chamkhar Valley and is located in Ura Village where you could Explore the Ura village en route to Wangthang Goenpa. The villages in Ura have clustered houses, which is quite unusual in Bhutan. Since last 25 years Ura has been transformed from a marginal community to a prosperous valley. From Ura just take a Short hike to Wangthankha Goenpa which is situated above 3420 m.
Ngang Lhakhang: Three hours walk from Thangbi Goenpa is a small region of Ngang Yul “Swan Land” and this temple is 100m above the valley floor. Guru Rimpoche visited the site and Lama Namkha Samdrup, contemporary of Pemalingpa, built present temple in 15th century. Three-day festival is held here each winter with mask dances in honour of the founder of the temple

The People of Bumthang has their own native language which is known as Bumthangkha. It is a Tibeto-Burman language closely related to Dzongkha, the national language of Bhutan. Bumthangkha is partially comprehensible to speakers of Dzongkha, which originated in valleys to the west of Bumthang.

1 comment:

cosmicdust said...

another great post! you r on fire, man! *lol*

keep them coming...

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