Travel to Bhutan: experience the beauty of Punakha

Email

Punakha district is easily one of the tourists' favourite valleys.

Until 1955 Punakha was once the capital city of Bhutan. It is one of the most beautiful districts in Bhutan with lush meadows, expansive terraces of paddy fields and two beautiful rivers: Mo Chhu and Pho Chhu. Blessed with a temperate climate, Punakha Dzong also serves as the winter residence of the Je Khenpo (the chief abbot). 

Popular attraction sites in Punakha
Punakha Dzong

The magnificent Punakha Dzong was built in 1637 under the reign of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, which is located at the banks of the confluence of Mo Chhu River and Pho Chhu. The dzong has a massive historical significance where many major events of Bhutan took place, including the coronation of the first king and the royal wedding ceremony of the fifth king of Bhutan. 

The dzong houses the sacred relics Rangjung Kasarpani, the remains of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and the Terton Pema Lingpa. The incredible dzong is at its best during the spring season when jacaranda trees bloom majestically in the courtyard. 

Chimi Lhakhang

The sacred temple Chimi Lhakhang, known as the Fertility Temple is located in Sopsokha village standing on a round hillock. The temple is dedicated to Lama Drukpa Kuenly, a 15th-century saint from Tibet. He was known as the “Divine Madman” because of his unconventional ways of teaching Buddhism. 

Prior to visiting Chimi Lhakhang, you'll start your journey from the shophouses at Sopsokha Village. In the village, you can find many murals and crafts of the bizarre phallus symbols. The phallus images and wood crafts come in all shapes, colours and sizes.

From the village, you'll walk through a beautiful paddy and mustard field for around 20 minutes to reach the entrance of Chimi Lhakang. 

The interesting folklores associated with the temple is that Lam Drukpa Kunley subdued a demon of Dochu La with his “magic thunderbolt of wisdom” and trapped it in a rock at the location close to where the chorten now stands. And that is the story of how the symbol of the phallus became divine and protective in Bhutan. 

Many childless couples or couples with newborns from all over the world visit the temple to seek blessings from Drukpa Kuenley. There are also many interesting modern miracles testimonies from parents who managed to conceive after visiting Chimi Lhakhang. 

Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Temple

Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten in Punakha was built in the year 2004 by Her Majesty Queen Mother of Bhutan, Ashi Tshering Yangdon to safeguard Bhutan from the evil forces and to bring peace and harmony to all living beings. The temple has three storeys; the first floor houses the statue of a powerful and wrathful deity, Vajrakilaya and on the third floor is the golden statue of Sakyamuni Buddha in his classic pose. 

It takes an hour to hike up to the temple crossing through an adventurous suspension bridge. The journey provides a breathtaking panoramic view of Punakha valley, paddy fields and shimmering river from the top of the temple. Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten is one of the finest examples of Bhutanese tradition and architecture. 

Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Nunnery

Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup nunnery was built as a Buddhist college for nuns in 2008 and consecrated in 2010. The nunnery is perched high up on top of a hill overlooking three valleys of Toebesa, Punakha and Wangdue. The place is lovely, tranquil, clean and has a beautiful garden with colourful prayer flags.

Aside from visiting stunning sacred sites, you can also opt for some fun activities in Punakha such as whitewater rafting or attending the popular Punakha Tshechu.

Rafting in Punakha

Rafting in Punakha valley is the most popular soft adventure in Bhutan which is safe, fun and exciting. It is a blissful experience with an elegant and scenic view of Punakha valley. You can find exotic birds on the riverside as you are rafting through the rivers. 

There are two rivers in Punakha for rafting: Pho Chhu (male river) and Mo Chhu (female river). The Pho Chhu covers a length of approximately 15 km followed by the Mo Chhu river with a 10 km courseRafting experiences vary by season. In summer, river tides are high, currents fast, and the water looks muddy because of rain and during winter, river water is shallow, crystal-clear, and the flow is slow and calm.  

Punakha Tshechu

Punakha Tshechu takes place in February or March inside the incredible Punakha Dzong and it is one of the most popular religious festivals in Bhutan. It is held right after the popular Punakha Drubchen. The unfurling of the thongdrol (display of giant thangka) of Guru Rinpoche is the main attraction of the festival. It is believed that a mere sight of the thongdrol liberates and cleanse the sins. The tshechu is one of the best ways to experience the ancient living culture of Bhutan and socialise with locals.

 

For more attractions in Bhutan, order your copy of Bhutan Travelog

Purchase a Book, Support a Cause

If you'll like to support a charity cause in Bhutan, you can purchase your copy of the travel guidebook through the Bhutan Travelog website. Simple click on the link of the charity cause that resonates with you. SGD10 of the proceeds will go toward the charity of your choice.



Related Posts

Bhutan banned mountaineering out of respect for the local...

While there are many stunning peaks in Bhutan, mountaineering is prohibited in Bhutan.

Nov 29, 2021 11:51

My first Jomolhari Base Camp Trek experience, a journey within...

Find out what to expect on a 5-day Jomolhari Base Camp Trek itinerary

Nov 26, 2021 15:01

How should I dress in Bhutan?

About to head to Bhutan for the adventure of your lifetime but don’t know what to pack? Fret not. Here’s a guide of...

Sep 06, 2021 11:49

Travel to Bhutan: experience the charm of Paro district

Paro district receives the highest volume of travellers annually. It's also easily one of tourists favourite places in...

Jul 14, 2021 11:20

Travel to Bhutan: attractions in the capital of Bhutan, Thimphu

Western Bhutan is the perfect region to learn more about the beautiful kingdom for those who are visiting Bhutan for the...

Jun 29, 2021 12:58

Bhutan is the perfect destination for luxury travel

The definition of 'luxury travel' has changed because of COVID-19.

Jun 01, 2021 18:32

Latest

News

Restoration of Drukgyel Dzong is expected to be completed by June 2022

Drukgyel Dzong is one of the most popular landmarks in Paro.

Nov 18, 2021 13:35

Selling and buying of tobacco products are no longer illegal in Bhutan

Bhutan introduced a new law on tobacco. This new act permits the sales, distribution, buying, possession, and transportation of tobacco or...

Nov 09, 2021 11:23

Features

The endangered majestic black-necked cranes are highly honoured in Bhutan

The Bhutanese believe that the cranes were sent from the heavens as avatars of their ancestors.

Nov 25, 2021 12:35

There is a yeti preserve in Bhutan that is bigger than the size of Singapore

Wondering whether there are yetis in Bhutan? There is even a corpse!

Oct 21, 2021 11:22

Business

Yathra weaving, the uniquely Bumthang culture

Unlike other places in Bhutan, the people of Bumthang don’t do agricultural work. Instead, they weave yathra products. Traditionally, every...

Sep 13, 2021 17:06

What are the entrepreneurship programmes and initiatives available in Bhutan?

The Bhutanese government has introduced all kinds of initiatives to promote entrepreneurship. Even school kids are groomed to innovate,...

Jun 22, 2021 16:37

Sports

Bhutan's national women cricket team won ICC Women's T20 World Cup Asia Qualifier 2021 opening match

The United Arab Emirates is currently hosting the ICC Women's T20 World Cup Asia Qualifier. The two ICC Academy grounds in Dubai Sports City...

Nov 23, 2021 11:13

Paro FC reclaimed its champion title for BoB Bhutan Premier League 2021

Bank of Bhutan (BoB) Bhutan Premier League 2021, previously known as Bhutan Premier League (BPL), the top football tournament in Bhutan...

Oct 02, 2021 19:57

Travel

Bhutan banned mountaineering out of respect for the local spiritual beliefs

While there are many stunning peaks in Bhutan, mountaineering is prohibited in Bhutan.

Nov 29, 2021 11:51

My first Jomolhari Base Camp Trek experience, a journey within and beyond

Find out what to expect on a 5-day Jomolhari Base Camp Trek itinerary

Nov 26, 2021 15:01

Lifestyle

Tshoglhams, the 'colour-coded' traditional boots of Bhutan

The colour of the traditional boots indicates the status of the wearer.

Nov 22, 2021 15:29

What is your birth mewa (birth marks)?

Mewa indicates a karmic relation from life to life.

Nov 16, 2021 14:42

COVID-19

Bhutan was the first South Asian country to vaccinate children against Covid-19

Bhutanese children aged 12 to 19 years old were vaccinated. Immunising the kids was necessary to achieve herd immunity.

Dec 03, 2021 11:20

Bhutan is leading in the vaccination race

“Bhutan is now a beacon of hope for the region, at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has upended lives and devastated families." - Dr Will...

Jul 28, 2021 12:01

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!

Download Daily Bhutan Mobile App

Connecting with us just got easier!