Wide valley of Ura that sits at an elevation of 3300 meters above sea level is inhabited by Ura Dozhi, Beteng, Pangkhar and Sumthrang villages. Residents of these villages are accessible to East-West national highway and interconnected farm roads. They enjoy the constant supply of electricity, clean drinking water system, free service centers like Grade B health service, Central School, Agriculture, Livestock, Forestry Service and Local Government (Geog) whose offices are all located in this wide Ura valley. There are four grocery shops, three restaurants, one guest house and seven home stay at Ura. Presence of Phrumsengla National Park Head office offers additional avenues to explore about wildlife and conservation programs. Various historical or sacred sites Ura is one place that tourists are tempted to visit and leave with good memories.
Other adjoining villages in the Ura valley are Shingkhar, Shingneer and Tangsib sprawled across 265 sq. km that has 81.8% forest coverage. A maximum of 2300 population has consisted in 301 households from 7 villages that form a Ura Geog. About 90% of Ura communities totally rely on agriculture (potato being the cash crop) and livestock farming for their livelihood. Another source of income for the communities of Ura is seasonal wild mushroom collection especially the high-price fetching mushroom species like Tricholoma matsutake (Sangay Shamu) and Lyophyllum sp (Ngangla Shamut).
The Jakar Dzong or the “Castle of the White Bird” dominates the Chamkhar valley and overlooks the town. Constructed in 1549, by the Tibetan Lam Nagi Wangchuk, the Dzong played an important role as the fortress of defense of the whole eastern Dzongkhags. It also became the seat of the first king of Bhutan. Its located 49 km from Ura and its about 1-hour drive.
Mebar Tsho – the Burning Lake
The Burning Lake, Mebar Tsho is located along the way to the Tang village over the feeder road under Bumthang valley (39 kms from Ura). Mebar Tsho is considered one of the most sacred sites in the region as it is related to the renowned religious treasurer (Terton) Terton Pema Lingpa. Pema Lingpa is considered an incarnated disciple of Padmasambhava who discovered treasure within the lake in the late 15th century.
Ura valley in Bumthang is known for the famous dance known as the Ura Yakchoe. The dance is performed during a festival that is held every May. During the festival, a sacred and important relic is put on display so that the people can receive blessings from it.
Ura Valley (3,100m/19,200ft) is the highest and the most eastern of the Bumthang valleys. The Ura temple was consecrated in 1986 dedicated to Guru Rinpoche. Paintings represent different teachings and are beautifully executed.
Popular festivals like Jambay Lhakhand Drup, Jakar Tshechu, Nimalung Tshechu, Kurjey Tshechu, Thangbi Mani and Nalakhar Tshechu are all held once every year in Bumthang valley.
Hikes & Treks
There are a number of good hikes and treks in and around Bumthang. Bumthang Cultural Trek which starts from Choekhor Valley – Tang Valley. It is usually done over two or three days. Other includes day hike to Ngang Lhakhang: Three hours’ walk up the Bumthang river from Thangbi Gompa is the small region of Ngang Yul (‘Swan Land’), Petseling Monastery: It is located about three hours’ hiking distance above the Swiss Guesthouse on a steep incline. It offers fine panoramic views of the central Bumthang valley. Tharpaling Gompa: which is located on the hillside above Bumthang. Hike to Kunzangdrak Monastery – a tough one hour steep ascent up the hillside on the way to Tang valley leads you to one of the most important sites related to Pema Lingpa and many of his important sacred relics are located here.