I hope you have enjoyed the journey so far, you can read the previous post here.
I spent 3 days in Punakha and I must say, miss any other place in Bhutan if you don’t have much time but do not miss Punakha. You can cover this place in a day or like me enjoy it for 3 days. Situated by the side of Pho Chu and Mo chu rivers, this is another laid back town of Bhutan which boasts of the Punakha Dzong, a 17th Century fortress. The very feel of being surrounded by mountains, a river by your side and plenty of birds, Punakha was nothing but magical.
Punakha is a 3 hour journey from Thimphu and remember you will need special pass for this area. Reaching Punakha itself is so amazing, you climb up to the Dochula pass and then descend to Punakha. Dochula offers the majestic view of Mountains: Gangchey ta(6784m), Masang Gang(7194m), Tari Gang(7304m) among the few. 108 memorial chortens or stupas were built here by Ashi Dorji ; the eldest queen mother.
Things to do :
- Also called Punthang Dechen Phodrang (The Palace of Great Bliss), Punakha Dzong is beautifully situated between the convergence of Phochu and Mochu Rivers ( “male” and “female” rivers), It is said to be the most magnificent of all the fortresses in Bhutan.Built in 17th century, Punakha Dzong served as the capital and seat of goverment of Bhutan before it was moved to Thimphu in 1955. Today, it houses the administrative and judicial offices of Punakha District.Punakha Dzong is also the winter home of Bhutan’s spiritual leader, Je Khenpo. He and his retinue of 600 monks migrate to Punakha from Thimphu every November. The Dzong also houses the sacred remains of two of Bhutan’s holiest lama and saint.
2. Walking to the suspension bridge:
We just walked to the suspension bridge from our resort. As mentioned before, we love to watch the world go slowly and nothing like a walk especially in a country which has so much clean air and surroundings. Take the road from inside the Dzong to the suspension bridge, ask for it otherwise you may end up taking a longer route.
3. Chimi Lhakhang temple:
Also known as the “Fertility Temple,” the single building site was originally built in 1499 on a short hill that had been blessed by rogue Buddhist leader Drukpa Kunley, known as the “Divine Madman.” Drupa Kunley, also known as “The Saint of 5,000 Women” worked overtime to spread enlightenment through an active sex life.
4 Bird Watching
I was just amazed by the variety of birds this valley has to offer. If you love clicking birds, you may want to spend more time here. Great Cormorant, ducks, shelducks, black necked cranes, sparrows are among the famous species.
Where to stay ?
Your experience of any place is magnified by your stay, if the stay is good, nothing like that. Our resort was situated by the river and had a private spot to go and sit by the river. The restaurant was good and had a good choice of cuisine. I would highly recommend this place and was absolute value for money.