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The king of Bumthang region in the 8th century fell terribly ill after falling out with the local guardian deity. Desperate to recover from the curse, he invited Guru Rinpoche to Bumthang to help the King regain his health. Guru Rinpoche meditated in a cave to subdue the local deity and obliged in restoring the health of the King. Imprints of Guru’s body remained in that cave and thus the name Kurje which means the imprint of the body.

In 1652, first Governor of Trongsa constructed a temple enclosing the cave. Today there are three main Lhakhang within the Kurje complex. It is also believed that the cypress tree near the entrance is an offshoot of Guru Rinpoche’s walking stick.