Punakha Dzong or Pungthang Dewachen Phodrang (Place of great Happiness) is also the country’s most gorgeous and majestic Dzong. Punakha is accessible from a 3 hours drive east of the capital Thimphu, and after crossing a pass in the mountains; the place is a breathtaking and glorious sight on the first glimpse from the road.
Punakha Dzongis one of the best tourist places in Bhutan, the Dzong speaks volumes about the beautiful stories and traditions of the Buddhist culture. The most interesting fact is that the building has no usage of nails. Do not miss this on your Bhutan sightseeing tour.
It is built strategically at the junction of Pho Chhu (Male) and Mo Chhu (Female) rivers in 1637 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, Punakha Dzong is the main attraction in Punakha. This is the biggest and second largest dzong built by the Zhabdrung in 1637.It is the old capital of Bhutan. Today it houses the administration offices of the Punakha district and serves as a winter residence of the Je Khenpo(Chief Abbot) and the monastic body who migrate from Thimphuevery winter. Punakha Dzong is one of the most beautiful fortresses in Bhutan. Punakha Dzong joined to the mainland by an arched wooden bridge and contains many precious relics from the days when successive kings reigned the kingdom over this valley. Furthermore, it is blessed with a temperate climate, and lovely lilac colored jacaranda trees grow around the Dzong during the spring season
Punakha is located at an altitude of 1300m/4265ft.Punakha is the former capital of Bhutan.Punakha valley produces abundant crops and fruits.
Chhimi Lakhang (Temple):
It is suited on a hillock in the center of the valley, is dedicated to Lama Drukpa Kuenley, who in the late 15th century used humor, songs and outrageous behavior to dramatist his teaching and due to this also known as Divine madman.This temple is also known as the temple of fertility. It is widely believed that couples who do not have children and wanting one, if they pray at this temple,they are usually blessed with a child every soon. It is about 30 minute walk across field from the road to the temple. The trail leads across rice fields to the tiny settlement of Pana,meaning Filed. It then follows a tiny stream downhill to Yoaka and across more fields before making a short climb to Chimi Lhakhang.
Khamsum Yulley Namgyel Chorten ( Stupa):
Dominating the upper Punakha valley, this magnificent stupa was built to promote peace, stability and harmony in Bhutan. This stupa is dedicated to the fifth king and serves to protect the country; The 30 m- tall stupa took eight years to build and was consecrated in 1999.it is a 50 minutes hike to this monastery from the base.
Punakha Suspension Bridge:
Apart from Punakha Dzong, what makes Punakha a popular tourist attraction is the Punakha suspension bridge. It is built over the Po Chhu River. It is one of the longest suspension bridges in Bhutan, spanning 160 m. It connects Punakha town with Punakha Dzong. Draped with prayer flags, it is a delight for photographers. Walking on it will by far be one of your most adventurous experiences. Make sure to stop by here.
Location: 10 minutes away from Punakha Dzong, Punakha
The village is best known for its cleanliness and hygiene among Punakha villages. Talo (alt. 2,800m) which is scattered along the hill slopes.There are some monastery and from that you can view Punakha town clearly.
Sangchhen Dorji Lehndrup Lhakhang Nunnery:
It is one of a very beautiful nunnery monastery perched on a ridge amid pine and overlooking valleys of Punakha and Wangdiphodrang gleams the magnificent of Sangchhen Dorji Lehndrup Lhakhang (Temple),The temple houses a 14-foot main bronze statue of Avalokiteshvara (Chenrigzig chagtong chentong) god of compassion 1000 arms and 1000 eyes. Other statues included those of Guru Rinpochhe,Gautama Buddha,Zhabdrung ngawang Namgyel,Tse-la Namsum 21 Taras and Tsepamey (Buddha of longevity) The Avalokiteshvara statue one the biggest in the country was the handwork of entirely local Bhutanese artisans.
Dochu La Pass:
On the way to Punakha, you will across Dochula pass (3,140m) In Bhutan, the passes are marked by a large Bhutanese Chortens (Stupas) and prayer flag. Dochula pass offers the most spectacular view over the high peaks of the eastern Himalayas on a clear day.
The Royal Botanical Park is the countrys first nature recreational park,established in 2004 to preserve the rich natural biodiversity of the area. This area of 47 sq km in the Dochhula conservation area has been delineated for protection and development into a site ecotourism and nature education. A unique attraction of the park is the rhododendrons. Of the total 46 specious that grow in Bhutan,40 species are found her. This includes the 29 specious that grow naturally in the area and another 11 that have been planted in the park Garden. The park also has 114 species of ferns,as well as numerous wild orchids.
Hike to Lung Cho Tse ( 5 hours to and fro
It is an interesting 4 to 5 hours round trip walk around Dochula Pass,offering facinationg view of Bhutan Himalayas. The road ascends gradually into white, red and pink rhododendron forests for about one and half hour with some steep sectins before branching left to Lungchozekha Goemba.the highlight of this excursion is beautiful forests, spectacular mountain views and monastery.