The kingdom of Bhutan, possibly the last great Himalayan kingdom left, is shrouded in a veil of mystery and amazement. Much like the mythical kingdom of Shambhala, Bhutan has managed to seamlessly blend its ancient traditions with modern developments to create a perfect balance of harmony. The beautiful Himalayan landscape attracts travellers annually to the kingdom, with secluded resorts, like the luxurious COMO Uma Paro, for example, providing a range of rooms & suites that overlook snow capped peaks and lush, green forests.
As you travel through the country, you will stumble upon many impressive dzong structures and enchanting monasteries, but there are a few in particular that stand out for several reasons, and Kurjey Lhakhang Monastery is one of them. Located in the Bumthang valley, the large temple complex is named after a body print of the Guru Rinpoche, an 8th-century Buddhist master, which is preserved in a cave in the oldest of the three temples that make up Kurjey Lhakhang.
Of the three temples, the first and oldest is the Guru Lhakhang. Artfully placed beneath the eaves is a figure of a snow lion with a garuda above it, which represents the battle between Guru Rinpoche and the local demon, Shelging Kharpo. Near the entrance on the ground-floor is a small rock passage; the Bhutanese believe, that crawling through the small tunnel will rid you of your sins. The upper-floor area is the holiest in the entire temple complex. There are over a thousand small statues of Guru Rinpoche running along the walls, and a bigger, main statue of him, flanked by his eight manifestations and eight shrines. Behind this statue is the cave where his body print is said to be.
The other temples are just as beautiful, and it’s worth taking your time to explore every nook and cranny. Try to visit in June, when the Kurjey tsechu (festival) takes place, and watch a dramatic dance composition of Guru Rinpoche’s defeat of Shelging Kharpo.
Caleb Falcon is a travel writer who specializes in writing content based on the many exciting world adventures that await intrepid travellers.