Located in Chummey Valley in Bumthang, Nimalung Dratshang is at an approximately 15 minutes drive from the road that branches off from Chummey Village. The Dratshang was co-founded Dasho Gonpo Dorji and Doring Trulku Jamyang Kunzang, the third mind reincarnation of Terton Jigme Lingpa in the year 1935. During the visit of Doring Tulku to Bhutan, he met Dasho Gonpo Dorji during the funeral ceremonies of Dasho Jamyang, the father-in-law of the Second King Jigme Wangchuck and immediately thought of laying the foundation of a Lhakhang and along with Doring Trulku he decided to open a monastic institution to uphold the school of Buddhism enriched by Kuenkhen Longchen and Jigme Lingpa. This is a two storied temple decorated with murals of the Nyingmapa and Drukpa traditions and its main relic is the statu of Guru Rinpochhe. There are also paintings of Guru Rinpoche and his disciples, the lineage of Terton Pema Lingpa, and several masters affiliated with the monastery.
Nimalung tshechhu is one of the most important festivals held at the Lhakhang. During the festival a nine meters high and twelve meters wide Guru Rinpoche Thongdrol (large Scroll Painting) is unfurled. The Thongdrol was donated by Lopen Pemala was consecrated in June 1994 in the presence of a large crowd of villagers by Lhalung Thuksey Rinpoche, the mind reincarnation of Pema Lingpa. A series of mask dances are also performed during the festival.
Kurjey Tshechu coincides with the birth anniversary of Guru Rinpoche. Different kinds of mask dances are performed during the festival apart from traditional and folk songs and dances.
Kurjey Lhakhang (temple) is located in Kurjey in Chhoekor valley in Bumthang. It is a 15 minutes drive from the main Chamkhar town in Bumthang.
Legend has it that, Sindhu Raja (King of Bumthang) invited Guru Rinpoche to subdue some evil spirits that had been plaguing the land. Guru Rinpoche visited Bumthang and meditated in a cave that resembled a pile of Dorjis (stylized thunderbolt used for Buddhist rituals) and subdued the evil spirits. The imprints imprints of the Guru’s body remained in the rock face. Thereafter, the name came to be known as Kurjey meaning – “Imprint of the body”.
Kurjey Lhakhang consists of three temples. From the three temples, the oldest temple was constructed in the year 1652 by Minjur Tenpa the first Trongsa Penlop (Governor of Trongsa) on the site where Guru Rinpoche meditated. The second temple, which is the most sacred temple was founded by Gongsar Ugyen Wangchuck in 1900 while serving as the 13th Trongsa Penlop. The temple is sacred as it was built in the site where Guru Rinpoche left his body imprint. The third temple, which houses the images of Guru Rimpoche, King Thrisong Detsen and Pandit Santarakshita was sponsored by the Queen Mother Ashi Kezang Choden Wangchuck and was built in 1900s. In front of the temples are Chortens dedicated to the first three kings of Bhutan.
The Kurjey festival which is observed in the temple grounds is an important occasion not only for the local people of Bumthang but for all Bhutanese. The festival brings together tourists and Bhutanese from all over as it presents the perfect occasion to not only receive blessings by witnessing age-old mask dances but also to enjoy this unique culture.