Jakar

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Ideal duration: 1-2 days

Best Time: March - May, September - November Read More

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"Jakar, the one-street town"

Jakar Tourism

Nestled at the foothills of Choekhor Valley, Jakar is the largest and the most beautiful valley in Bumthang. It is popularly known as "Little Switzerland". Jakar is the principal administrative town of the district of Bumthang.

Bumthang consists of four valleys - Tang, Ura, Choekhor and Chumey, out of which Choekhor is the largest and considered the most beautiful. Jakar is a small one-street town that lies at the foothill of this very valley. Being surrounded by tree-lined mountain ranges, dotted with monasteries and Dzongs, it proves to be a treat for both history buffs and nature-lovers. This town was formed by the group of villages below the Jakar Dzong.

The name 'Jakar' means 'white bird' and is named after the foundation legend of the district Dzong. It offers several historical and sacred sites to visit and is considered to be the point of origin of Buddhism in Bhutan. Along with fulfilling the historian's appetite, Jakar also provides a visual treat in terms of the picturesque backdrop that it is set in.

It is also an ideal place to stay as there are various options available for excursions from Jakar to places like the Ura Village and the other valleys in Bumthang. This further opens up doors for other activities like trekking and mountain biking. About the weather in Jakar, the strong winds make the place too cold during winters; hence, the best time to visit Jakar is from March to May.

Things to do in Jakar

1. Jakar Dzong

Jakar Dzong
The Jakar Dzong, also known as the "castle of the white bird" was initially built as a monastery by the great grandfather of the first Shabdrung but is now the centre of administration of Bumthang Dis (Read More)trict and also houses the regional monk body. It overlooks the Chokhor Valley, is visible from almost everywhere in Chokhar town and offers a good view of the Bumthang Valley as well. It is the site of the festival of Jakar Tshechu in which sacred masked dances take place.

5. Wangdicholing Palace

Wangdicholing Palace
Built-in 1857 over the valley beside Chamkhar River, the Wangdicholing Palace is the birthplace of the first king of Wangchuk. It was used as the summer residence by the Second King Jigme Wangchuk. Fl (Read More)aunting an aesthetic Bhutanese architecture, the Palace is home to priceless and rare murals, sculptures and textiles. It has a chief central tower, periphery buildings, prayer wheels, a stupa and an archery ground. Currently, it's been undergoing restoration and will be converted to a museum, however it is open to visitors.

6. Chakhar Lhakhang

Chakhar Lhakhang
Located at a short distance away from Jambey Lhakhang, Chakhar Lhakhang was the site of the palace of the (Read More)Indian King Sindhu Raja who invited Guru Padmasambhava to the province of Bumthang. It was originally made of iron and is hence also known as the Iron Palace. The place makes for a good visit and is said to have stood nine storeys tall and has a number of masks and hats on display which are used during festivals. Another site to visit would be the Lhodrak Kharchhu Monastery, situated about 3 km from Chamkhar (Jakar).

7. Mebar Tso

Mebar Tso
One of the holiest sites in Jakar, the Burning Lake, also known as Mebar Tso, is surrounded by green mountains and lush valleys. This fresh-water lake has a very rich and interesting history and the l (Read More)ocal guide tells it with such an enthusiasm that one actually feels like they are a part it. This serene site is a must-visit if you are in the vicinity.

8. Lhodrak Kharchu Goemba

Lhodrak Kharchu Goemba
Lhodrak Kharchu Goemba is a massive monastery known for its grandeur and is home to about 400 monks. Located 3kms above the town of Chamkhar in Jakar, the Goemba is known for preserving Tibetan cultur (Read More)e. Namkhai Nyingpo Rinpoche founded it in 1984 sanctifying it with the marvellous structures of Buddhist saints. Debates, prayers, dance performances and poetry including the practice of tantric Buddhism; this eccentric monastery witnesses it all.

9. Kunzangdrak Goemba

Kunzangdrak Goemba
A 45 min hike up the Drangchel village, will take you to the Kunzangdrak Goemba. Nestled between Jakar and the Tang Valley its location is what makes its constructions so marvellous, built against the (Read More) steep rock face of the mountain amidst the wilderness of Bhutan. A site of many important relics of Bhutanese Buddhism, the shrine is believed to have been built in the 15th century by Pema Lingpa, a famous figure in Bhutanese Buddhism.

10. Ogyen Choling Palace Museum

Ogyen Choling Palace Museum
The gem of Tang Valley in Jakar, Ogyen Choling Palace Museum is a wonderful place which preserves and shows the rich history and values of Bhutan. The artefacts and traditional household things are we (Read More)ll presented. A paradise for history lovers, the museum gives an insight into the rural life of the country.

11. Kenchosum Lhakhang

Kenchosum Lhakhang
Founded in the 8th century by Pema Lingpa, Konchogsum Lhakhang is situated south of Tamshing Lhakhang. Known to be over a 1000 years old, it was rebuilt after a severe fire accident that took place on (Read More) February 2010. The mesmerizing paintings and statues of Buddhist Gurus are striking. The modern architecture and the serenity of this place are what makes it beautiful and worth visiting.

More on Jakar

Brewery and Cheese factory

An interesting activity near Jakar is the production of Swiss cheese and unfiltered Weiss beer. Swiss brandy,honey and marmalade can also be found here. These two places are quite interesting to visit and are in fact owned by the same Swiss national who owns the Swiss Guest House.

At the brewery, one can witness the process which results in unfiltered Weiss beer. Apple cider and wine are also available. Since it is not brewed every day, prior calling and confirmation have to be done. The cheese factory offers not just an insight into the cheese-making process but also offers a variety of cheeses to buy and also produces apple brandy and clover honey.

Origin Point of Buddhism

Bhutan is dominated by followers of Buddhism.What is a lesser known fact is that Jakar is the town which first saw the light of Buddhism. Upon the invitation of the Indian King Sindhu Raja, Guru Rinpoche visited Jakar. Subsequently, the King turned Buddhist.Hence Jakar is cited as the birth place of Buddhism in Bhutan and is particularly important for Vajrayana Buddhism as well. Pema Lingpa, an accomplished and respected teacher of this school of Buddhism was also born in this region.

Religion of Jakar

Mostly, Buddhism is practised in the region. Jakar is said to be where Buddhism first found its footing in Bhutan.

Language of Jakar

Language of administration and instruction is Dzongkha, the national language. Bumthangka and Brokkat are also spoken. English may be understood in urban centres.

History of Jakar

Jakar was the first place in Bhutan that Guru Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche) visited. It is also the region where Pema Lingpa, an accomplished and respected teacher of Vajrayana form of Buddhism was born.

Nightlife in Jakar

There aren't that many options as far as nightlife goes. However, one could try their hand at singing at Hangout Karaoke in Chamkhar. ( Open from 9:00 to 23:00 on Mondays,Wednesdays and Thursdays, 9:00 to 12:00 on Fridays and Saturdays, Sunday 9:00 to 11:00 and closed on Tuesdays).

Shopping in Jakar

Jakar is very famous for it's distinct and bright coloured wool known as yethra, out of which one could hope to find bags, rugs and garments. These are well-known throughout the Kingdom. There are also other souvenirs such as wood carvings and yak cheese. Jakar town has a number of small shops from which one could collect some memorable items.

Best Time to Visit Jakar

How to Reach Jakar

How to Reach Overview

One will find a few conveyance options (such as bus) to the district of Bumthang in general and may have to transfer to Jakar by cab/car.

How to reach Jakar by flight

Bhutan's national carrier, Druk Air and Bhutan Airlines both provide international flights to its international airport at Paro. ( It is to be kept in mind that due to the changeable weather conditions and the fact that Paro Airport can only operate during daylight hours, delays might occur. Travellers are advised to keep sufficient time at hand for connecting flights). A flight from Paro to Bumthang shall land at Bathpalathang Aiprort situated right in the town of Jakar. Tashi Air and Druk Air both provide domestic flights.

How to reach Jakar by bus

Meto Transport plies buses from Thimphu to Jakar at 6:30 daily. It is an 11-hour journey. Another bus plying to Bumthang District are: Dungkar Transport which supplies buses to Bumthang from Gelephu on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays at 6:00.

How to reach Jakar by waterways

Not applicable

Local transport in Jakar

It is advisable to take a hired car as the sacred sites and tourist spots are spread over the entire area. There are taxis available for the purpose.

Jakar Photos

Jakar, Bhutan

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FAQs on Jakar

What is famous about Jakar?

Presence of many monasteries and sacred sites

What is not so good about Jakar?

Not as accessible as other cities in Bhutan

What is the best time to visit Jakar?

March-May during Spring is the best time to visit Jakar Valley, when the flora and fauna are at their best along with the pretty Rhododendrons at higher altitudes. It is also a good season for trekking. Rain approaches only in May. September-November denotes the season of Autumn which is a beautiful time of the year with temperatures being comfortable and just right. It is the season of a number of festivals all over the country but of particular significance to Jakar is the festival of Jakar Tsechu held in Jakar Dzong. Summer in Bhutan (June - August) isn't that warm and uncomfortable. It is characterised by spells of rain but adequate planning can eliminate problems. Winter (December - February) temperatures can vary from 0-7 degrees Celcius and may go even lower. Nights could get pretty cold and the evenings slightly windy. This makes Jakar a very cold place in winter. Trekking doesn't remain an option as routes might become impassable due to snow. One could spot some stray Black Necked Cranes who migrate to Central Bhutan in winter.
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What is the local food in Jakar?

Buckwheat is eaten mainly in Bumthang and Buckwheat House, near Jakar Lhakhang, offers 'Bumthang Indigenous Organic food' such as puta (noodles),Khuli (pancake),jangbali (pasta) among other dishes.

Alcohol beverages include ara, bangchang, singchang and changkoe.

For authentic taste of Bhutanese cuisine, one could visit the following restaurants:
Sonar Yangkhel and Sunny Restaurant (both in Jakar)
Noryang Restaurant and Bar (opposite Wangdicholing Palace).

For those bored of Bhutanese food, the following might provide some respite:
Himalayan Pizza (Jakar)
Cafe Perk (Jakar)
Bumthang Pizza (near Jakhar Lhakhang).

Chugo is a special type of hard, chewy cheese that is found and relished by the locals in this region.

Read more about Traditional Bhutanese Dishes

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What is the best way to reach Jakar?

One will find a few conveyance options (such as bus) to the district of Bumthang in general and may have to transfer to Jakar by cab/car.
Read More

What are the things to do in Jakar?

The top things to do in Jakar are Jakar Dzong, Khurjey Lhakhang, Jambey Lhakhang, Tamshing Lhakhang, Wangdicholing Palace, Chakhar Lhakhang. You can see all the places to visit in Jakar here

What are the places near Jakar?

The top places near to Jakar are Punakha which is 84 km from Jakar, Thimpu which is located 108 km from Jakar, Paro which is located 131 km from Jakar, Trongsa which is located 23 km from Jakar, Bumthang which is located 10 km from Jakar

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