Bhutan | Bumthang

Mebar Tsho -The Burning Lake

Embrace Bhutan Cultural Tour

Bumthang | Bhutan

13 Nov 2019 | Wed

Day 07 of 13

  • Drive | Jakar to Tang Valley
  • Jambay Lhakhang
  • Kurjey Lhakhang
  • Nature Walk to Tamshing Lhakhang – Swinging Bridge & Local Handcrafts
  • Tamshing Lhakhang
  • Lunch in Bumthang
  • Mebar Tsho – The Burning Lake
  • Pema Choling Nunnery
  • Ogyen Choling Manor and Museum

Mebar Tsho -The Burning Lake

Membartsho, also known as Mebar Tsho, is a holy site, revered as the place where Pema Lingpa, Bhutan’s greatest tertön (treasure discoverer), discovered several of Guru Rinpoche’s terma in the 15th century. The pool in the Tang Valley, near Bumthang in central Bhutan is known locally as the Burning Lake, because according to legend, Pema Lingpa had a dream urging him to go to that particular spot in the Tang Chuu river. After standing on the rocks looking into the depths, he discerned there was a temple at the bottom with many doors, one of which was open. He dove in and swam into a large cave, where a woman with one eye handed him a treasure chest. As he took it from her, he found himself back on dry land.

The local citizens and the ruling Penlop were cynical of his claims, so he invited them to return with him and he would retrieve another terma. Holding a lit lamp, he told the assembled crowd, “If I am a genuine revealer of treasures then may I return with the treasure and my lamp still alight. However, if I am a devil, may I drown.” He dove in. After a while people became nervous that he was taking too long when suddenly he burst out of the water holding a statue, a treasure chest and the lamp in his hands was still alight.

– Wikipedia Membartsho (Mebar Tsho)

Trail to Membar Tsho – The Burning Lake

After being dropped off by our driver, it was time to take a short walk to visit Mebar Tsho -The Burning Lake. Getting to the actual site required walking along a winding trail up over a hill and then down into a steep incline.

History Sign Entering Mebar Tsho (The Burning Lake)

Our guides made sure to mention that there had been some previous accidents where visitors had fallen into the water (and died), so we had to be extra careful when walking – especially around Mebar Tsho (Burning Lake) location.

Walking Trail Down to Mebar Tsho (The Burning Lake)

Tsha Tsha’s Along Trail

While walking along the trail (and around the lake), we noticed several areas had several hundred (small conical clay figurines/mounds. We were told that these were called tsatsas (tsha tsha).

Tsatsas (Tsha Tsha) Found Along Walkway

These are often engraved with a sacred Buddhist symbol and sometimes contain human ash or bone. These distinctive little sculptures are offerings that are made as part of religious practices and can be dedicated to either the living or dead.

Wooden Pedestrian Bridge and Buddhist Shrine

After a short journey, we reached a beautiful wooden pedestrian bridge that crossed over to the site of Mebar Tsho. At the entrance of the bridge was a small Bhutanese Buddhist shrine and a display of lit butter lamps.

Wooden Pedestrian Bridge Crossing Over to Mebar Tsho

Mebar Tsho

To get to Mebar Tsho, you cross over the wooden pedestrian bridge and then walk down (to the left) to a small area that overlooks the river (Tang Chhu River).

Mebar Tsho – The Burning Lake

You have to be careful in this area due to its limited standing space – one small slip here and you could fall into the water.

Overall, we found this location to be quite beautiful, and we found its history to be quite interesting.

Map – Mebar Tsho -The Burning Lake

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