It would be a pity if tourists come to Bhutan without stopping at Punakha Dzong – one of the famous fortresses in the world. This is a destination that visitors find so much in the past.
Fort Punakha Dzong is one of the most beautiful fortresses in the country with a very impressive location. Punakha Dzong is located between the two famous rivers of Bhutan, Pho Chu and Mo Chu. This fort was built in 1673 and is considered the royal palace of Bhutan until the middle of the 20th century.
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Punakha is located between the famous two rivers Pho Chu and Mo Chu. Built in 1637, Punakha was considered the royal palace of Bhutan until the middle of the 20th century. In ancient Punakha, in addition to the ancient buildings and festivals held year round, visitors also Enjoy the majestic Himalayas from the top of the 3,100m-high Dochula Pass.
The ancient capital Punakha is located about 70 km from the capital city of Bhutan in the east and you will take about three hours to reach the capital because the road system is still under construction.
Punakha is the ancient capital of Bhutan, which is remembered for its beauty, architecture, culture and tradition. This is obvious when visiting Punakha Dzong. Previously, the Dzong were fortresses built to protect the country, often built on the mountain slope, climbing. Later, the Dzong became religious and administrative centers. And in many Dzong in this happy country, Punakha Dzong is the most beautiful Dzong in the capital and well-known in the country.
Watching the beauty of monasteries and temples in Punakha Dzong is a wonderful experience for all visitors and even more fortunate to witness the monks chanting and rituals in Punakha.
2. Destinations in Punakha
2.1 Khansum Yulley Namgyal Chorten
This structure is located in Punakha Valley the hill. According to local people, this construction is the typical for tradition and architecture of Bhutan. Initially, this temple was built with the purpose of spreading peace for people by Her Majesty the Queen Mother. This temple was built based on the Holy Scriptures with the decoration reflecting the art and tradition of Bhutan. From this temple you can enjoy the panoramic view of Punakha valley.
2.2 Punakha Dzong
Fort Punakha has a long history in Bhutan. This was once the political center of the Bhutanese government until Thimphu became the capital of Bhutan in the mid-1950s. Punakha Dzong is considered to be the most beautiful and magnificent fort in the Bhutanese dzong, especially in In spring, when the lilac jacaranda flowers bloom in violet color, they bring the vivid beauty to the towering white walls of the dzong. Along with the yellow, red, black color of the wood carving of the dzong has made the fort a beautiful painting architecture amidst the vast forest.
It is said that the ancient Lotus Sutra had predicted the construction of Punakha Dzong. He had foretold that “a man named Namgyal would set foot on an elephant hill.” The truth is that one day Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal – who laid the foundations for building Punkha Dzong visited Punakha – Choose the top of the sleeping “elephant” trunk that connects the Mo Chhu and Pho Chhu rivers to make a fort.
After coming up with the idea, Zhabdrung decided to build a small building called the Dzong Chug (small fortress) as a place to place a statue of Buddha around the beginning of 1326. Zhabdrung established a Buddhist church in Here are 600 monks from Cheri Goemba, Thimphu Valley. The fort is also the winter cost of the nuns of the dratshang nunnery.
2.3 Punakha Suspension bridge
Do you where you can admire the best of nature in Punakha? In the middle of lush jungle in Punakha, there is a suspension bridge built on the river Po Chu. This bridge connects Punakha Dzong with Punakha city and other small villages. For some people, walking on this bridge requires some adrenaline but for others admiring the nature from this bridge is an amazing experience.
3. Activities in Punakha
3.1 Visiting temples
With the variety of temples and ancient constructions here, you should visit these temples. Each temple in Punakha has different decoration and different structure. But all of them have the similarity that all are located in the nature. That creates the peaceful atmosphere here that you can totally relax.
Trekking is very popular in Punakha with various trekking tours. You can trek through the green hills to admire the fantastic nature of Punakha. Or you can trek from temple to temple. Several popular trekking points are Dopshipang, Chorten Ningo, Shedrag,… Along the trekking route, you can go through various villages, rice fields,…
4. What to eat in Punakha?
4.1 Kewa Datshi
Kewa Datshi: Kewa means potato, so kewa datshi is a dish of potatoes and Bhutan cheese. Potatoes are often sliced thin, then stewed with cheese and butter. Sometimes the cook adds some chilli and tomatoes.
4.2 Phaksha Paa
Phaksha Paa: Pork cooked with red pepper. Pork slices are fried with dried red peppers and sometimes some wild vegetables. The result is a delicious Bhutan dish, served with rice and other datshi dishes.
4.3 Red rice
Red Rice: Whether you eat at luxury resorts or at village festivals, you will still encounter red rice. Bhutanese eat red rice as Vietnamese eat white rice or Americans eat bread. Red rice has high nutritional value, as the fields in the Paro valley, which produces red rice, are very fertile with high levels of mineral water. Only one serving of Bhutanese red rice is provided 80% of Manganese and 20% of Phosphorus required for the body. The red color of cooked rice is from the natural anti-cancer agent. After cooking, the color of the rice turned to light red or pink, rice also becomes soft and flexible.
Ezay: It is impossible not to mention ezay – the word for any chili sauce in Bhutan. Here you can think, chili sauce is not really a food … But in Bhutan, ezay is mandatory to eat with all food, so it can be considered as a separate item itself. It’s more like a salad than chili sauce. Every Bhutanese has its own recipe for ezay. May include dried chili, Sichuan pepper, tomatoes and a little bit of cheese.