Only about 20% of annual visitors make it this far, so a trip
here is both unusual and delightful. This four-fingered valley
embodies the essence of Bhutan-traditional villages, historic
monasteries, pristine natural beauty, gentle walks and challenging
treks through the heartland. Explore its many amazing monuments,
including the imposing Jakar Dzong for a beautiful view of the
According to Bhutanese history books, Guru Rinpoche, the central
figure in Tantric Buddhism, visited this valley in the 8th century.
He hid treasures of enlightenment, called terma,
throughout the valley and Bhutan. These treasures of spiritual or
socially beneficial significance may be found by a "revealer" and
once they are, they bestow good tidings upon the land. A monument
will commemorate the revealing. Kurjey Lhakhang is the monastery
where Guru Rinpoche meditated. It is said one can see the imprint
of his body in the rock where he sat.
One of the greatest "revealer of treasures" was Pema Lingpa.
Visit the Tamshing Goemba, which he founded in 1501. This goemba
contains exquisite paintings and statuary said to date back to the
time of the great revealer himself.
An interesting stop can be made at the Swiss Guest House,
cornerstone of the large Swiss Project that has helped Bumthang
farmers upgrade their agricultural practices. Savor fresh-baked
bread, homemade jam, cheese and tea. It is possible to visit the
home compound of a local farming family to learn of their daily
life, see their traditions, and enjoy conversation, local snacks
From there, embark on a steep one-hour walk to Ugyen Chholing
Palace. This remote palace dates from the 16th century and has an
interesting collection of masks, rhino-hide shields and other
weapons dating back to conflict with invading Tibetans.
Ura is a picturesque agrarian village, with cobblestone streets
that exudes a medieval feel. In the spring and fall Ura hosts
wonderful festivals. Local people, wearing their finest hand-woven
clothes, come from miles around (most on foot) to gain the
blessings of attendance at these rites and to enjoy the camaraderie
of family and friends. Performances of sacred dances go on all day
amidst swirling incense, streaming costumes and ancient, magically