JAKAR BHUTAN

Jakar is a town in the central-eastern region of Bhutan. It is the district capital (dzongkhag thromde) of Bumthang District and the location of Jakar Dzong, the regional dzong fortress. The name Jakar roughly translates as “white bird” in reference to its foundation myth, according to which a roosting white bird signaled the proper and auspicious location to found a monastery around 1549.

The town is the site of Chakhar Lhakhang, a small and unassuming temple which marks the site of the “Iron Palace” of Sindhu Raja, the Indian monarch who is believed to have first invited Guru Rinpoche to Bhutan in 746. The current building is said to have been constructed by Terton Dorje Lingpa in the 14th century.

According to the Jakar foundation myth, a roosting white bird signaled the proper and auspicious location to found a monastery around 1549. The settlement thus earned the moniker Jakar, meaning “white bird.”

There are many significant Buddhist sacred sites nearby the town, such as Kurjey Lhakhang, which holds a body print of Guru Rinpoche; Jambey Lhakhang, one of the 108 monasteries that in mythology were miraculously constructed by King Songten Gampo in one night; and Tamsshing Lhakhag established by Terton Padma Lingpa (1450–1521). In addition, one of the country’s largest monastic colleges, Lhodrak Kharchhu Monastery, overlooks Jakar.

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