Punakha Dzong | Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan

Punakha Dzong – meaning ‘great pleasure’ or ‘joy castle’, is the administrative headquarters of Punakha. It is the second oldest and second-largest dzong in Bhutan, and one of its most beautiful buildings. Moreover, Punakha Dzong served as the administrative headquarters until 1955.

Punakha surrounded by Po Chu Mo Chu rivers
Punakha surrounded by Po Chu Mo Chu rivers

Location of Punakha Dzong

In the Punakha valley, the location of Dzong is in between the Pho Chhu (male) and Mo Chhu (female) rivers. Punakha is Bhutan’s winter capital. Because Punakha Dzong is just 1,200 meters above sea level, you will not experience oxygen difficulties as you would at higher elevations such as Paro Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest), making it an excellent spot to commence for beginning hikers who may experience altitude sickness in the first few days. Punakha is also home to Bhutan’s second-longest suspension bridge (Punakha Suspension Bridge), as well as Chimi Lhakhang, the Divine Madman’s fertility temple, which is about 7.5 kilometers away by a vehicle. Also, visit Dochula Pass, which is midway between Paro and Punakha Dzong, to enjoy the panoramic Himalayan view.

That’s Ravindra at Punakha Dzong

The Architecture

Ngawang Namgyal is the mastermind behind Punakha Dzong and is Bhutan’s second oldest and most magnificent Dzong. Also, It is a six-story building with a central tower situated at an average elevation of 1,200 meters against a picturesque mountainous backdrop. In addition, compacted soil, stones, and timber for doors and windows constitute the construction of the Dzong.

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Six-story building with a central tower
Six-story building with a central tower

Firstly, the Dzong was damaged by several fires and was extensively damaged as a result of the 1897 earthquake. A high wooden draw staircase and a massive wooden door are among the defensive measures that remain tall in the dzong to safeguard it from enemy attacks.

The Courtyards

Whitewashed Stupa in the first courtyard
Whitewashed Stupa in the first courtyard

The first courtyard houses the dzong’s administrative buildings, a huge white-washed stupa, and a bodhi tree. The monks’ living quarters are in the second courtyard. In this courtyard, there are two ancient halls. Also, the burials of Pema Lingpa and Ngawang Namgyal are in the third courtyard. It is located at the dzong’s southern extremity.

Bodhi Tree in the first courtyard of Punakha Dzong
Bodhi Tree in the first courtyard of Punakha Dzong

In the Mo Chu and Pho Chu rivers, flash floods generated by glacial lake outburst flooding in the upper parts of the valley are regular and have caused flooding and damage to the dzong in the past. Restoration is now complete with the Government of India sponsorship. The Dzong is now as magnificent as its historic times.

Inner Courtyard of Punakha Dzong
Inner Courtyard of Punakha Dzong

To conclude, the place has some amazing artwork, well-documented history and attracts a lot of visitors. In addition to these photos, watch the video below for more photos and to get a feel of the place in and around Punakha Dzong. Also, consider SUBSCRIBING to my YouTube channel.