Kurje temple is located in the Chokhor valley in Bumthang district. It is 15 minutes drive from Chamkhar town.
The history of the temples at Kurje is associated with Sindhu Raja and Guru Rinpoche. Sindhu Raja invited Guru Rinpoche from Nepal to Bhutan. Upon invitation, Guru Rinpoche visited Bumthang and meditated in a cave that resembled a pile of vajras (dorjis). After subduing the evil spirits and demons, imprints of the Guru Rinpoche’s body remained. Thereafter, the name came to be known as Kurje meaning-imprint of the body. The present place of the Lhakhang remains as a blessed and historical site.
There are three main temples at Kurje. The oldest temple was constructed by the Minjur Tenpa in 1652 on the site where Guru Rinpoche meditated when he was serving as the first Trongsa Penlop (Governor of Trongsa).
The second temple was founded by Gongsa Ugyen Wangchuck in 1900 while serving as the 13th Trongsa Penlop. This temple is the most sacred as it was built in the place where Guru Rinpoche left his body imprint.
The third temple was built in the 1990s. It was sponsored by the Queen Mother Ashi Kezang Choden Wangchuck. It houses the images of Guru Rinpoche, King Thrisong Detsen and Pandit Santarakshita and the sixteen arhats or the Siddhis.
In front of the temples are Chortens dedicated to the first three kings of Bhutan.
Kurje festival is an important festival for local people of Bumthang and also for the rest of the Bhutanese. Many tourists and Bhutanese come together to witness the colorful festival for blessing and appreciation of the different mask dances. One will not only get the blessings by witnessing the age old mask dances and traditional Bhutanese dances but also enjoy this unique culture while also enjoying the beauty of Bhutan’s spiritual district.