Punakha Dzong is the administrative center for the Punakha Dzongkhag and one of the 20 district in Bhutan. The Dzong was the former capital of Bhutan and which was constructed in 1637. It is the one of the most beautiful Dzong in the country and it is the winter residence of Bhutan’s Central Monastic Body led by HH the Je Khenpo. The Dzong was also the place for the coronation of the First King of Bhutan and house many precious relics.
List of Some Interesting Places and Destinations in & around Punakha:
Punakha Dzong also known as Pungthang Dechen Photrang Dzong is built by Ngawang Namgyel and lies between Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu. The Dzong host administrative center of Punakha district and it is the one of the oldest and second largest Dzong in the Bhutan. The Dzong also house Rangjung Kasarpani and the sacred remains of Ngawang Namgyal and the tertön Pema Lingpa.
Chimi Lhakhang is monastery or templeis the Buddhist monastery built on the hillock near Lobesa, Punakha which is dedicated to Lama Drukpa Kuenley. The place was visited and blessed by Lama Drukpa Kuenley known to be as “Divine Madman” for his unorthodox ways of teaching. This extraordinary temple is popularly known to be the fertility temple among many and is frequented by childless couples and others alike for blessings.
Khasum Yulley Namgyal Chorten
Khasum Yulley Namgyal Chorten is located on the beautiful hill above Punakha Valley built for the wellbeing of the kingdom, its people and all sentient beings. It is a 15-20 mins hike from the suspension bridge. The temple was built in the traditional way and it is the fine example of Bhutanese architecture and arts.
Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Lhakhang
Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Lhakhang Nunnery is a temple which is located on a ridge beside the neighboring Punakha and Wangdue Phodrang amidst pine trees, overlooking valleys of Punakha and Wangduephodrang. The temple houses a 14-foot main bronze statue of Avalokiteshvara (Chenrigzig chagtong chentong). Other statues include those of Guru Padmasambawa, Gautama Buddha, Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, Tsela Namsum, the 21 Taras and Tsepamay (Buddha of longevity). The Avalokiteshvara statue, one of the biggest in the country, was the handiwork of entirely local Bhutanese artisans.
Limbukha located in the Punakha is famous for production of red rice which is supposed to have medicinal values.the village can be reached by the feeder road from Punakha and Wangdue and gives spectacular of Punakha Dzong, Po Chuu and Mo Chhu. Limbukha is also known for its love of peace and tranquility. Legends says that during medieval wars the “limpus” or the people of Limbukha always volunteered as peace negotiators. This is also depicted during yearly festival called ‘Serda’ when the men are found carrying peace flags instead of swords and fireworks.
Punakha Ritsha Village
Punakha Ritsha Village is famous in Bhutan for rice farming. Both red and white rice are grown along the river valley of Pho and Mo Chu, two of the most prominent rivers in Bhutan. Ritsha (meaning at the base of a hill) is a typical village in Punakha. The village houses are made of pounded mud with stone foundations. Each house is only two storeys high. Surrounding the houses are the gardens and the rice fields. The gardens also usually have fruit bearing plants like oranges and papaya among the organic vegetables. The village is 1km away from Punakha-Gasa high-way and currently the villagers are engaged in constructing the 1km farm road. In the recent years, the farming work is mechanized and power-tillers instead of bullocks are used to plough the fields and villagers have become relatively prosperous. This is a model rice growing village in western Bhutan.