Kurjey Lakhang is a colourful one-day festival of Bhutan that takes place in July. Read on to know everything about the festivities…
Tucked in the Himalayas, in the Chokhor valley, villagers gather in the grounds of Kurjey Temple to mark the day Guru Rinpoche was born. It is a 15 minute drive from Chamkhar town to the temple grounds. Locals of Jakar and Kurjey villages attend the Tshechu to pay obeisance to Guru Rinpoche who brought Buddhism to Bhutan.
It is a festival set against a backdrop of huge hanging tapestries. Red-robed monks perform ceremonies in front of it, while masked dancers perform the Bhutanese folkloric tales.
The main relic of the two-storied temple is a huge statue of Guru Rinpoche. The monastery is decorated with murals of the Nyingmapa and Drukpa traditions.
The history of the temples at Kurjey is associated with Sindhu Raja (King of bumthang) and Guru Rinpoche. The story goes that Sindhu Raja invited Guru Rinpoche from Nepal to Bhutan to control the evil spirits that had been plaguing the place. Guru Rinpoche visited Bumthang and meditated in a cave that looked like a pile of Dorjis (thunderbolt used for Buddhist rituals). After controlling the evil spirits and demons, imprints of the Guru’s body remained in the rock face. Thereafter, it came to be known as Kurjey – “Imprint of the body”. The Lakhang is considered a blessed site with historical significance.
This one-day festival includes the Guru Tshengye and Shinjay cham (dance), performed by the monks of Kurjey Lakhang. It concludes with the unfurling of a giant Buddha/Guru Thangka painting known as ‘thongdrel’. The festival is completely supported and funded by the government of Bhutan.
Do not skip the festival if you are planning to visit Bhutan in the month of July. It is an occasion that brings together locals and tourists from all over the world and you soak up the unique culture of Bhutan.