Religion: If you are a resident of Bumthang and you intend to fetch Kurje Drubchu (holy water), you should plan it for the weekdays.

This is because of the large number of people who come to fetch the Drubchu on weekends.

People with containers ranging from empty mineral water bottles to 20-litre jerry cans form long queues every Saturday and Sunday.

The crowd fetching the Drubchu indicates that almost everyone in Chamkhar drinks Kurje Drubchu while some even cook with it.

People from other places who visit Bumthang also make a point to visit and take the Drubchu.

Many monks from monasteries like Kharchu Dratshang and Jakar Lhakhang collect Drubchu, as they offer it as Yoenchab (water offering).

A monk, Tenzin Wangchuk, who is the caretaker of Jakar Lhakhang said it is better to fetch the water on week days as he need not wait in queue. He said he offers the Drubchu as Yoenchab and drinks it.

He said it’s blessed holy water with great medicinal values and making Drubchu offerings satisfies him. “It’s clean and we don’t have to boil or filter it for drinking,” he said. He claims he comes to fetch Drubchu thrice a week.

Tenzin Wangchuk claims people sent the holy water to their friends and relatives living outside the dzongkhag and some even bathed with it, even in the winters.

Passang, 60, from Trongsa said she doesn’t own a car but makes it a point to come along when her neighbours come to collect Drubchu.

Dorji Tshomo from Dekiling said she is sick most of the time but manages to fetch Drubchu. “I am still living despite ailments and it could be because of the Drubchu,” she said.

She said people have to sometimes wait for about three hours in queue at the Drubchu especially in summer.

It is believed that Guru Rinpoche created the Drubchu in the eighth century following Chakhar king Sindhu Raja’s invitation to Bumthang. Sindhu Raja was suffering from a prolonged illness and Guru was invited to come and treat him.

Guru meditated at the present Guru Lhakhang at Kurje and subdued the demon of Kurje Drak, Shelging Karpo who was responsible for the king’s illness. The Drubchu was created with his supernatural power to celebrate his victory over the demon at the end of his meditation.

The king’s daughter Monmo Tashi Kheudon, who later became Guru’s disciple fetched the water and offered it to her father whose illness was then cured. “People still believe that the Drubchu cures almost all diseases,” a resident said.

Nima Wangdi | Bumthang