Jambay Lhakhang Festival

Festival Dates:
24th to 27th October 2018

13th to 16th November 2019

The ‘Tsechu’ literally means the ’10th day’ of a month and is considered one of the auspicious days of the month. The festivals are called ‘Tshechu’ as one of the three days of festival falls on the 10th day of the particular month. These religious festivals are in honour of Guru Rimpoche Padmasambhava (the Indian Saint who spread Buddhism in the country in 8th century) or a patron deity of the area. Mask dances and various cultural folk dances are performed by the monks and the locals. All mask dances have religious significance and it is believed that one who witnesses the tshechu is profusely blessed.

Tshechus are also an occasion for friends and families to get together and for some it is also an opportunity to show off their best dresses, jewelry and ornaments. So, everybody is dressed in their best.

Jambay Lhakhang is one of the oldest temples in the kingdom. It was founded by, Songtsen Gampo, a Tibetan King in the 7th century AD. The king was destined to build 108 temples known as Thadhul- Yangdhul (temples on and across the border) in a day to subdue the demoness that was residing in the Himalayas. The temple is one of the two of the 108 built in Bhutan. A second is located in Paro, the Kichu lhakhang also built on the same day.

Legend has it that Guru Rimpoche visited the site several times and deemed it exceptionally sacred. Chakhar Gyab, the king of the Iron Castle of Bumthang renovated the temple in the 8th century AD.

The first king of Bhutan, Gongsa Ugyen Wangchuck constructed the Dus Kyi Khorlo (Kala Chakra- Wheel of Time) inside the temple, to commemorate his victory over his rivals Phuntsho Dorji of Punakha and Alu Dorji of Thimphu after the battle of Changlimithang in 1885. Later, Ashi Wangmo, the younger sister of the second king of Bhutan, built the Chorten lhakhang.

The main relics include the future Buddha, Jowo Jampa (Maitreya) from whose name the present name of the temple is derived. The lhakhang also houses more than one hundred statues of the gods of Kalachakra built by the first king, in 1887.

One of the most spectacular festivals in the country, called Jambay lhakhang Drup is hosted here. The festival lasts for five days.  The highlight of the festival is the fire ritual that is held in the evening where crowds gather to witness the ritualistic naked dance.

Itinerary

Day 01. Arrive Paro
Day 02. Paro Taktsang Hike
Day 03. Paro – Thimphu Sightseeing(55km 1 hour)
Day 04. Thimphu – Phobjikha (144 km/aprox 5 hr)
Day 05. Phobjikha – Bumthang (207 km/aprox 7 hrs)
Day 06. Bumthang sightseeing
Day 07. Bumthang- Jambay Lhakhang Festival
Day 08. Bumthang- Jakar Festival
Day 09. Bumthang to Punakha (220 km/aprox 8 hrs)
Day 10. Punakha – Thimphu: (80kms 3.5 hours)
Day 11. Departure