Perched on the ridge above the Jakar town overlooking Choekar Valley of Bumthang is Jakar Dzong. Jakar Dzong is considered as the largest dzong of Bhutan whose foundation was laid in 1549 under the commandment of Lam Ngagi Wangchuk, who came to Bhutan to spread the Drukpa Kagyu teachings. Jakar Dzong’s official name is Yuelay Namgyal Dzong, named in honor of the victory over the troops of Tibetan ruler Phuntsho Namgyal. The dzong was upgraded in 1647 after the Zhabdrung had strongly rooted his power. The name Jakar is derived from the word bjakhab, meaning “white bird”.
Nestled amidst the lush coniferous forest, the present structure of Jakar Dzong was built in 1667 with a boundary of 1500mt. Tourists can get the sight of the white washed wall of Jakar Dzong from the town itself. Like the other dzong of Bhutan, Jakar Dzong has its own astounding legend about its formation. As per the legend, when the lamas gathered in just about 1549 to choose a location for a monastery, a big white bird suddenly rose in the air and settled on a spur of a hill which was taken to imply as an essential signal, and the hill was selected as the place for a monastery and for Jakar Dzong, which generally decodes as ‘castle of the white bird’. Thus the name Jakar originates from the word bjakhab, meaning “white bird” and Zhabdrung's great-grandfather, Ngagi Wangchuck, founded the monastery. The elegant and gigantic structure of Jakar Dzong has fascinated many travelers. A stone pathway through the luxuriant forest takes the tourist towards Jakar Dzong. After reaching dzong tourist can notice the unique feature of Jakar Dzong. An unusual feature here is that the utse (central tower) is situated on an outside wall, so there is no way to circumambulate it. The interior of Jakar Dzong is quite simple in comparison to other dzong and monasteries of Bhutan. Beside the daunting towers and large courtyard there is a walled passageway from the dzong which leads the visitors down the hill to a close by spring a characteristic that made certain water could be acquired in the event of a lengthy cordon. To dwell in the stony pathway surrounding the dzong lets the visitor feel the lingering essence of the ancient ere along with the tranquil ambiance.
The serene ambiance and simple yet complex architecture of Jakar Dzong has made it a favored destination of Bumthang Valley. Take a stroll in the stony pathway while listening to the alluring sound of chanting of prayers while feasting your eyes with the scenically blessed views of the adjacent valley.
The serene ambiance and magnificent architecture of Jakar Dzong can be relished throughout the year.