Punakha – Places of interests

Punakha– Punakha is a lovely valley surrounded by beautiful hills.Initially it served as the capital of Bhutan.Now it is the winter seat of Je Khenpo (the chief abbot). Punakha is blessed with pleasant temperate climate. Owing to its natural drainage from Pho Chhu (male) and Mo Chhu (female) rivers the valley produces plentiful crops and varieties of fruits. It also provides beautiful views of the nearby Himalayan range.

Places of interest in and around Punakha

Punakha Dzong

Punakha Dzong
Punakha Dzong

Punakha dzong is often known as the “Palace of Hapiness”. It is the second oldst and the second largest dzong in Bhutan. It is built strategically at the junction of Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu rivers in 1637, by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. It was meant to serve as the religious and administrative centre of the region. Punakha Dzong has played an important role in Bhutan’s history. It was damaged by four calamitous fires and an earthquake, but the Dzong has been fully refurbished by the present King. The Dzong is open for visitors during Punakha festival and in summer months when the monk body moves to Thimphu. The dzong is believed to be prophesied by Guru Rinpochhe. One thing that will definitely catch your sight is the “one hundred pillar hall” and an original volume of kanjur, the holy book, in gold.

Excursions around Punakha

Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten

Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten
Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten

This Chorten was commissioned by The queen mother, Ashi Tshering Yangzom Wangchuck. The temple stand beautifully on a tiny hill called Ngezergang. It is believed to have been built w to remove negative forces and promote peace, stability and harmony in the country. The complex iconography in the temple is rare to see. It also displays the finest of spiritual artworks on the inner walls of the temple. The hill top also provides spectacular view around.

Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Lhakhang Nunnery

Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Lhakhang Nunnery
Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Lhakhang Nunnery

The nunnery is perched on a point with in lush evergreen pine trees. It overlooks the valleys of Punakha and Wangduephodrang and shines with the magnificent structures of Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Lhakhang. We also find 14-foot main bronze statue of Avalokiteshvara inside the temple.There are also other statues like those of Guru Padmasambawa, Gautama Buddha, Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, Tsela Namsum, the 21 Taras and Tsepamay.
The temple also has a permanent higher learning and meditation center for nuns. The center also provides life skill training to the nuns such as tailoring, embroidery, statue making and thangka painting.

Chimi Lhakhang

Chimi Lhakhang
Chimi Lhakhang

Chimi Lhakhang is situated on a hummock in the center of the valley. It is dedicated to Lama Drukpa Kuenley, who in the late 15th century used humor, songs and outrageous behavior to spread his teachings. Therefore, he was known as “Divine Madman”. This extraordinary temple is popularly known to be the fertility temple. It is broadly believed that childless couples are usually blessed with a child very soon after their visit to this temple. It takes about 30 minute to walk across fields from the road to reach the temple. And Chimmi Lhakhang calls for at least one visit when you are in Phunakha.

Limbukha

We Drive towards Punakha Dzong and later walk across the suspension bridge which is about 200m long. This hike will take us through absolutely fresh breeze and absorbing view of the Dzong. It will then take us towards the farm houses gradually climbing towards Dompala hills. The climb is another two and a half hours to Limbukha. Limbukha is very popular in growing the famous red rice. The rice is said to have medicinal values. Limbukha is filled with peace and tranquil environment and friendly faces. It carries the history that the people of Limbukha always volunteered as peace negotiators during medieval wars in the country.

Nalanda Buddhist Institute is a small Drukpa Kagyu monastic school with about 100 students. The Locals call this place ‘Dalayna’ while the monks refer it as ‘Nalanda Buddhist College’. On completion of their studies the monks go onto further monastic studies at higher learning institutions.

we can drive here in the afternoon and enjoy your evening tea enhanced by the eye catching view in front.

Talo

The Talo village is situated at the height of 2,800m. The settlement is extended along hill slopes It is known for its cleanliness and hygiene among Punakha villages.

TaloSangnacholing is built on a plateau and provides the magnificient view of the adjacent villages. The farm houses of the village have their own flower gardens and on the hill slope corns and sweet peas are grown in its richness. The women of Talo are very captivatingly beautiful.

Punakha Ritsha Village

‘Ritsha’ meaning ‘at the base of a hill’ is a typical village in Punakha. It is yet another village famous for rice farming where both red and white rice are grown along the river valleys of Pho and Mo Chhu, two of the most prominent rivers in Bhutan. The village houses are made of pounded mud with stone foundations and only two storey high. These typical houses are surrounded with gardens and the rice fields. The village usually has fruit bearing plants like oranges and papaya among the organic vegetables. Now the farmers use machines and power-tillers comfortably instead of bullocksto plough the fields.They have become pretty prosperous because of this.