When I travelled Bumthang and asked my friend which nearby temple I should visit first, he was immediately suggesting me Zhuk Drak Lhakhang.
I have heard many things about some historically popular temples and popular tourist attractions of Bumthang. But I have never heard anything about this temple. I was wondering the reasons for which he was actually suggesting it.
On asking him the specialty of the temple, he said that it can be the Taktshang of Bumthang. Moreover, he was saying that is one of the most sacred temples of Bumthang out of four. Other three are Thowa Dra, Kunzangdra and Chu Dra Temples.
He said it’s a temple first founded by Guru Padmasambhava and is also built on a precarious cliff. I believed his words and agreed to visit it. He also accepted my request to be my guide.
My journey to Zhuk Drak Temple from Chamkhar
If you stay in Chamkhar town hotels, you have to go north of town following the route that leads to Kurje Lhakhang.
It’s approximately about 15Km drive from the town and have to cross Chamkhar Chu above Mebartsho and a small village called Chhoekhor.
The road connectivity is available till the base of the temple. However, since the temple is built on a higher level cliff overlooking Chhoekhor valley, we have to go on foot from the base. The distance is very short. It’ll not take 30 mins even on a lethargically casual walk.
Historical details of the Zhuk Drak Temple
Zhuk Drak means a cliff (Drak) where Guru sat (Zhuk). Guru Padmasambhava is revered as prophesied second Buddha in Buddhism. He also holds special place in the heart of every Bhutanese.
It’s believed that Guru visited Bumthang on a request by Chakhar King Sindhu Raja to see the main cause of his non-recovering persistent ailment.
It was during this, Guru has mediated in and around Bumthang. He has also mediated on a cliff where present temple is being located.
Bumthang local people later built a temple on this site as an icon of reverence for Guru Padmasambhava. Today it’s a meditation centre for locals and also a pilgrimage site for Bhutanese.
Is Zhuk Drak the Takshang of Bumthang then?
Paro Takshang is built on a cliff overlooking Paro valley so much as Zhuk Drak is built on a cliff overlooking Chhoekhor valley – both temples are located on a higher gradient hilltop.
Zhuk Drak and Paro Taktshang are both founded by Guru Padmasambhava. And also both the temples have statues of Guru Padmasambhava as main relics – but that of latter is smaller comparatively.
However, if we look into the size of the temple, Paro Taktshang is larger than Zhuk Drak Temple. Paro Taktshang has three main departmental structures whereas Zhuk Drak is a single structural temple.
The walking distance to reach the main temple is longer in case of Paro Taktshang. Some people take at least 2 hours to reach Taktshang from the base. But to reach Zhuk Drak, it won’t take more than 30 mins.
I would suggest you to visit this temple when you reach Bumthang. I assure that you’ll not be spiritually satisfied for being able to visit yet another Guru Rinpoche blessed temple in Bhutan, but will also get some physical exercises.
Recommend to read following travel experiences and exciting travel stories from Bhutan:
- Bumthang Travel – The experiences and stories of a traveller.
- Place of interest in Thimphu – Dodedrak Goemba.
- National symbols of Bhutan – Travel Bhutan to discover them.
- Travel to Gasa – The land of unnatural Peaks.
- Hidden Temple of Thimphu – Trashigang Goemba.
- Eastern Bhutan Travel – My experiences at Yonphula Airport.
- Dzongdrakha Temple, which looks similar to Taktshang.
- The secrets of Tiger Nest Monastery (Taktshang) Hike.
- Bhutan’s Taba-Lungtenphu walking Trail in Thimphu.
- Bumdeling – winter residence of Black-necked cranes in Bhutan.