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+975 - 17555557, +975 - 02341557 bhutantravelfacts@gmail.com

Punakha Dzongkhag has been inextricably linked with momentous occasions in Bhutanese history. It served as the capital of the country from 1637 to 1907 and the first national assembly was hosted here in 1953. Punakha Dzong is not only the second oldest and second largest dzong but it also has one of the most majestic structures in the country.

October 13, 2011 marked an unforgettable wedding of the King of Bhutan, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck to Jetsun Pema which was held at Punakha Dzong. Punakha Dzong was built at the confluence of two major rivers in Bhutan, the Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu, which converge in this valley. It is an especially beautiful sight on sunny days with sunlight reflecting off the water onto its white-washed walls.

In addition to its structural beauty, Punakha Dzong is notable for containing the preserved remains of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the unifier of Bhutan as well as a sacred relic known as the Ranjung Karsapani. This relic is a self-created image of Avalokiteswara that miraculously emerged from the vertebrae of Tsangpa Gyarey, the founder of the Drukpa School when he was cremated.

Punakha valley has a pleasant climate with warm winters and hot summers. It is located at an average elevation of 1200 m above sea level. Owing to the favorable climatic conditions, rice has become the main cash crop cultivated in the region.

Must see when in Punakha:
1. Punakha Dzong
The Punakha Dzong, also known as Pungthang Dewa chhenbi Phodrang, is the administrative centre of Punakha District in Punakha, Bhutan. Constructed by Ngawang Namgyal, 1ˢᵗ Zhabdrung Rinpoche, in 1637–38, it is the second oldest and second-largest dzong in Bhutan and one of its most majestic structures.
2. Chimi Lhakhang
Chimi Lhakhang known as the “Fertility Temple” for English Speaking world, is famously known for blessing childless couples with newborns. Built in 1499 by the 14th Drukpa hierarch, Ngawang Choegyel, after the site was blessed by the “Divine Madman” the maverick saint Drukpa Kunley (1455–1529) who built a chorten on the site.
3. Mo Chhu and Phochu Experience
Mo Chhu (Mo – Female) is a major river in Bhutan. The word “Chhu” means “river” or “water” in Dzongkha, the official national language in Bhutan. The river rises in Gasa Dzongkhag (district) near the border between Bhutan and Tibet. From there, the Mo Chhu flows generally southward to Punakha in central Bhutan, where it joins the Pho Chhu (Mo – Male) from the northeast. The confluence of the two streams is immediately below the Punakha Dzong, which is the winter home of the Dratshang Lhentshog (Central Monk Body) and the Je Khenpo (The Chief Abbot of the Central Monastic Body of Bhutan).  Its mostly popular for its water sports adventures and its suspension bridge across the Pho Chhu.
5. Talo Monastery
Perched at an elevation of 2800mt above Punkaha valley is the serene hamlet called Talo, Talo Monastery, built in 1950 houses many lhakhangs (Monastery), in which Neten Chudrug (sixteen Arhats) lhakhang is one of them. Talo Monastery is an essential Drukpa Kagyu monastery of Punakha. The source of the Drukpa Lineage stems from the Primordial Buddha Vajradhara, the All-Pervading Lord of the Hundred Buddha Families.
6. Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Choeten
Following the Mo Chhu upstream from Punakha Dzong, and the gleaming apex of the Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten will soon appear on the opposite bank, a gold-topped beacon guiding you upstream. Seven kilometers (4 miles) northeast of the dzong, the tiered chorten stands 30-meters (100-feet) tall, its three stories are covered with beautiful paintings of characters from the annals of Vajrayana Buddhism – including one protector deity pictured riding a shaggy brown migoi or yeti.
A path that leads from the roadside to a bridge across the Mo Chhu, before gradually climbing up a steep road to the chorten itself. Visit during cool of the morning then to sit and catch your breath and enjoy the fabulous views up and down the lush meadows and fields along the Mo Chhu river .
7. Wolakha Nunnery
Sangchen Dorji Lhundrup Choling is a monastic college located in the village of Wolakha in Punakha, Bhutan. This nunnery was built in 2008 and consecrated in 2010. The nuns here follow the Kagyu tradition. The college is built with unique feature of structures skillfully carved with black marble blocks surrounding the stupa, depicting the 84 mahasiddhis, 16 arhats, and the great lamas of Drukpa Kagyu lineage. Initiated in 2008 by Yab Dasho Ugyen Dorji, the nunnery was completed in 2010, with more than 170 nuns.
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