Yutongla Pass and a series of hair-raising bends at 11,500 feet separates the
valleys of Tongsa and Bumthang. Views of Tongsa valley on the ascent are superb.
Bumthang has an individuality that charms its visitors and separates it from
other regions. Comprising of fouf smaller valleys, the deeply spiritual region
of Bumthang is shrouded in religious legend.
Apart from the Dzong at Jakar smaller temples can be found throughout the hills.
Tales of Padma Sambhava dominate these holy shrines. The valley is home to the
sacred Jampa and Kuje Monasteries where bodily marks of Guru Rimpoche are impressed
upon a rock.
Bumthang is also the traditional home to the great Buddhist teacher Pema Lingpa
to whose descendants the present dynast traces its ancestry.
The town of Jakar is the largest between Thimphu in the west and Tashigang in
the east. Jakar is famous for its honey production, cheese, apples and apricots.
Its arable land and Swiss and German aid projects have helped the local economy
to dramatically improve over recent years. A number of modern houses are evidence
of the valleys increased properity.
Visitors to Jakar should plan to spend a few days taking advantage of the valleys
relatively gentle slopes to hike to nearby medieval temples and glimpse Bhutans
mostly rural population.
The eastern most valley in central Bhutan before the Thumsingla pass is the
Ura valley with the village of Ura at its center. A small but old Dzong and
cobble-stoned paths give the village a medieval feel. Elderly women can still
be seen walking around Ura wearing sheepskins on the their backs (they lay the
sheepsking on the ground and sleep on them).
Ura is the settlement before the climb to the highest pass(12,465 feet) in the
kingdom at Thumsingla.
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