The four valleys known as Bumthang are located in the east-central part of the country, surrounded by heavenly apple groves (the juice is fantastic) and fields of barley. Bumthang is the area where Buddhism first took hold in Bhutan. The town of Jakar has several temples, including Kurjey Lhakhang and Jampey Lhakhang (both associated with Guru Rimpoche, who brought Tantric Buddhism to Bhutan and Tibet) and Jakar Dzong (which alone makes Bumthang worth a one-night stop).
A short distance away is Tamshing Gompa, a 16th-century monastery that holds some noted Buddhist paintings. There are two interesting festivals—Tamshing Phala and Thangbi Mani—in late September-October.
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