Heritage: Most are not aware of a small choeten (stupa) located beside the road from Chamkhar to Jambay Lhakhang above Wangduecholing hospital in Bumthang.

However, the choeten is important as it was here that Guru Rinpoche conducted his first sermon to the public of Bumthang.

While no written records exist, Chakhar Lam Dorji, 88, said Bumthang was named Choekhor following the sermon.

Singey Dorji, 78, from Jalikhar said there is a rock vessel that can still be seen at Batpalathang. “It is believed to be the vessel in which Khando Yeshi Tshogyel prepared locally brewed liquor or ara and offered it to Guru Rinpoche,” he said.

He said the choeten was initially called Chokaling Choeten and it was constructed out of mud. “We could see Guru’s seat (zhugthri) then,” he said. Construction of the present choeten led to the zhugthri being buried. He said not many people visit this choeten even during the auspicious days because they don’t know how sacred it is.

Tshomo, 55, from Wangduecholing, who also runs a shop above the choeten said locals refer to the choeten as Saachag Chorten. “People of Wangduecholing look after the choeten,” she said. Tshomo added that many elderly people circumambulated the choeten in past years but many have passed away and not many visit the choeten anymore.

Nima Wangdi | Chamkhar