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Sightseeing in P​unakha & Wangduephodrang, Bhutan

Punakha is loca​ted at an alleviation of 1250m and played a very important role in history. It had been the capital for over 300 years. Located south of Punakha is Wangduephodrang and lies at an altitude of 1350m. The higher reaches of the Wangduephodrang valley provide rich pasture land for cattle and this valley is famous for its fine bamboo work, stone carvings, and slates. Places of interests in Wangdue and Punakha are:

  • Punakha Dzong : is the second oldest dzong in Bhutan and was built in 1637. It is strategically located at the junction of the Pho Chu (Male River) and Mo Chu River (Female River). The dzong is still the winter residence for the central monk body and every year His Holiness the Je Khenpo and the central monastic body move to Punakha in winter and Thimphu in summer. The dzong houses some very sacred religious objects such as the “Ranjung Kharsapani” which is considered one of the most sacred relics in Bhutan. It was brought to Bhutan by Zhabdrung and caused many invasions by the Tibetans in olden times. The dzong also has the embalmed body of Zhabdrung preserved in the Machen Lhakhang and is closed to all people except His Majesty and His holiness the Je Khenpo. There is also a set of 108 volumes of the Kanjur (words of Lord Buddha) written fully in gold. Historically, this dzong is important because it is the place from where monarchy started in Bhutan. The first king was coronated in this dzong
  • Khamsum Yulley Namgyel Chorten : This Chorten (stupa) lies to the west of the Mo chu river and is perched high on a strategic ridge 7 kms from Punakha. This Chorten is unique and the only one of its kind in the world. It is an splendid example of Bhutan’s fine architecture and artistic tradition. Her Majesty the Queen (Mother of the present king) was the patron of this monument. This stupa was built to help remove negative forces and promote peace, stability and harmony in the world and for the well being of our king and the people.
  • Wangduephodrang Dzong : It is the highlight of the last town of western Bhutan. It was built in 1638 and is perched on a spur above the confluence of the Punakha Chu and Dang Chu rivers. It played an important role in our history because the location of this Dzong commends an impressive view over both north-south and east-west highway. The Dzongpon (governor of the region) was the third most powerful in Bhutanese history after the Tongs and Paro Penlop.