Bumthang 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 practised here. Consequently, Bumthang is a repository of sacred artefacts and monasteries.
Bumthang consists of four main valleys: Ura, Chumey, Tang and Choekhor. These fertile valleys are covered in fields of buckwheat, rice and potatoes. Apple orchards and dairy farms are also common sights in the area.
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.
Other sacred sites to see include Kurjey Lhakhang, one of Bhutan’s most sacred sites; Tamshing Goemba, which contains lovely frescoes; Sumthrang Lhakhang; and many others.