Punakha

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Punakha was the capital of Bhutan from 1637 till 1907. In order to reach Punakha from Thimphu, visitors need to pass by the Dochula Pass, which is at an attitude of 3,050 metres above sea-level.

This pass is very popular for tourists as one can enjoy a 360 degree panoramic view of Himalaya mountain range. It is also an ideal location to capture beautiful pictures of Himalaya during clear warm days. The 108 stupa at this pass was built by the eldest Queen Mother Her Majesty Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuk to honor the Bhutanese soldiers who were killed when fighting the Indian rebels in 2003. Besides being a spiritual place, many Bhutanese families love to visit this pass during holidays and weekends just to enjoy the beautiful scenery of this place.

Punakha Valley is situated at 1,300 metres above sea-level. Blessed with warmer climate and natural drainage from Pho Chu (male) and Mo Chu (female) rivers, Punakha Valley produces abundant crops and fruits for the country.

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Next to the Pho Chu (male) and Mo Chu (female) rivers lies Punakha Dzong. This Dzong was built in 1637 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. This Dzong was recently fully restored by the 4th King Jigme Singye Wangchuck after damaged by fires, earthquakes and floods. Your trip to Punakha will not be completed without enjoying the impressive colourful wall paintings and high standards of woodwork done for this Dzong.

Chimi Lhakhang, also known as a�?Temple of Fertilitya�?, is a temple situated in the centre of the Valley. This temple is found by Lama Drukpa Kuenley, the well-known a�?Divine Madmana�?. It is widely believed that couples who visited this temple were blessed miraculously with children.

Other places of interest include :

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  • Chendebji Chorten a�� a stone Buddhist monument, built in the 19th century by a Tibetan Lama. It is a Nepalese style stupa to cover the remains of an evil spirit who was killed on the spot.
  • Chorten Nigpo walk a�� The walk to Chorten Ningpo passes through several villages. In summer, the fields will filled with rice, vegetables and fruits. While in autumn, visitors will be enchanted by the golden hue of ripening rice. For adventure walkers, a detour to Hokotso is recommended for autumn as this lowland lake holds many legends.
  • Khamsum Yuelle Namgyel Chorten a�� a temple built by Queen Mother of the 5th King to bring universal peace to the world. The best spiritual art works are painted on the inner walls, together with paintings of Buddhist teachers and tutelary deities of Bhutan. This is a great temple to study symbolic meanings of frescoes and sculptures.