Interesting Things to Do in Punakha, Bhutan

Bhutan has a glorious past and would appeal to anyone in love with nature, culture, and modernization bonding together. The former capital of Bhutan, Punakha, is one such town that has so much to offer. Here are some interesting things to do in Punakha that you can’t miss.

Interesting Things to Do in Punakha

1. Seek great happiness at the Punakha Dzong

interesting things to do in Punakha: Punakha Dzong

 

The Punakha Dzong was built back in 1637 and has served as an enduring symbol of a united Bhutan since. Dzongs are distinctive forts that have served as administrative centers in Bhutanese districts for centuries. The Punakha Dzong is the largest dzong in Bhutan and one of the most regal places to visit in Punakha. The beautiful complex is the epitome of architecture in Bhutan, and its beautifully decorated rooms and prayer halls are a treat for visitors that come here.

2. Walk Past Punakha Suspension Bridge 

A walk across a usual bridge could be a cake-walk for everyone. But what if you are left in the middle of a suspension bridge that swings along with the cool river breezes? While thrill-seekers might find this as one of the most enthralling or adventurous things to do in Punakha Bhutan, others might opt to stay from it! Though suspension bridges are quite common in Bhutan, Punakha Suspension Bridge has its own fanbase and excitement. Measuring around 160-180m, this historic bridge was built by Thangtong Gyalpo, connects both the banks of the alluring Po Chhu River; it connects Punakha Dzong with Shengana, Samdingkha, and Wangkha.

3. Visit the Mo Chhu River

interesting things to do in Punakha: Mo Chhu River

 

Visiting the Mo Chhu is one of the interesting things to do in Punakha. Starting from the Gasa Dzongkhag district near Tibet and Bhutan border, the Mo Chhu(River) flows towards Punakha in the central region of Bhutan. It then joins the Po Chhu from the northeast of Bhutan. The confluence of the two rivers is right below the Punakha Dzong which is a treasure trove of experiences as activities like Rafting and Kayaking are carried out here. The confluence of the ‘Mo chhu’ and ‘Po chhu’ is called ‘Puna Tseng Chhu’, which then flows through Wangdue Phodrang, and the districts of Dagana and Tsirang.

4. Spend time at the Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten

This is a Buddhist temple completed in 2004 was commissioned by the Queen Mother. Built to ward off all evil spirits and promote peace and harmony in the world, the Khamsum Yulley Chorten is one of the most popular Punakha tourist places. The temple complex also serves as fine example of the architectural traditions of the country. The temple can be reached after hiking through the paddies and then up a small hill laden with prayer wheels. The enormous statue of Vajrakilaya, the easily angered Buddhist god, is the first thing that you see when you walk into the temple.

5. Make your way to the Towering Dochu La Pass

Towering Dochu La Pass

 

Situated on the Thimphu-Punakha Highway, Dochu La Pass is a must-visit spot for visitors to Punakha Valley. Reaching an elevated height of 3,100m, this is one breath-taking place that could be reached by traversing through winding terrains that offers astounding 360-degree views of the snow-capped Himalayan Range, verdant rhododendrons, alpine forests, and scenic valleys. Also, while in the vicinity, visitors can pay their homage to the 108 martyred soldiers, whose memorials are built along the Dochu La Pass. Called ‘Druk Wangyal Chortens’, these memorial chortens are often visited by the locals; this spot is a popular day-out destination among the locals.

6. Explore Jigme Dorji National Park

Bhutan is a country that always believes in preserving traditional valuables and respects its natural resources. And following its footsteps, Jigme Dorji National Park not only houses the distinct flora and fauna but also provides them with all the essential resources, facilities, and care.

Stretching over an area of 4316 square kilometers, Jigme Dorji National Park is the second-largest national park in Bhutan. Named after Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, the third king of Bhutan, it is the crown jewel of the country due to the treasures that it holds within its boundaries.

7. Visit Chimi Lhakhang

Chimi Lhakhang

 

This beautiful Buddhist monastery was built back in the 14th century by Drukpa king Ngawang Choegyel and is counted amongst the most important things to visit in Punakha. As legend has it, the Buddhist monk Drukpa Kunley defeated a demon here and trapped it inside a rock here. Do not be shocked to find phallus symbols strewn everywhere inside and on the walls of the temple. The legacy of Drukpa Kunley who advocated outrageous ways to ward off evil beings, the phallus symbol is used throughout Bhutan to cast away the spirits.

 

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