Kumbu – The sacred cremation ground

Kumbu – The sacred cremation ground


Typical Bhutanese house

The kumbu cremation ground in Gangtey, Wangdue is considered one of the most sacred cremation grounds in the country. Locals say that, here, it is not necessary to clean the ashes after cremation. The ground cleans itself.

Located at the base of a rocky hill called Khumbu Bja, the Kumbu cremation is also one of the oldest.

Kenpo Singye Dorji of Gangtey Sanga Choling Gemba said that the name kumbu could have been derived from Kumbum because the many rocks on the hill resemble Buddha statues. Locals believe that the hill actually contains thousand statues.

Sonam an elderly local, said it is believed that there is a deity looking after the ground who does the cleaning. “On auspicious days, from the juniper tree next to the cremation ground, one can see smoke coming out.”