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The small size of the place is surprising considering the role that Punakha played in the history of the kingdom. It was the country’s winter capital for 300 years and the fertile Punakha valley allows two rice crops a year. Oranges and bananas are also grown in abundance.
Punakha Dzong also known as Punthang Dewachenpoi Phodrang meaning “the palace of great bliss”, was built by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel in 1637. The most beautiful Punakha Dzong covers the island at the confluence of the 2-rivers, resembles a gigantic ship in between Mo chhu(Female River) and Pho chhu(Male River). Punakha is still the winter residence of the Dratshang(The Central Monk Body).
It is believed that a demoness who had been terrorizing the valley had transformed herself into a red dog to escape the wrath of Drukpa Kuenley. However, Lam Drukpa Kuenley had caught the dog on the Wangdue Phodrang route and buried it under a pile of earth shaped like a woman’s breast. He had then built a Chorten (Stupa) on top of this mount and prophesied that a temple would one day be consecrated over it. True to the prophecy, his brother Lam Ngawang Chogyal built Chime Lhakhang in 1499. It is believed to be a fertility temple.
Khamsum Yuelley Namgyel Chorten
It was built to help remove negative forces and promote peace, stability and harmony in the changing world, the well-being, and the long life of our beloved monarch. It took over eight and half years to construct and one can enjoy the breathtaking views of the valley from there. It’s an hour hike from the road point that goes through the rice fields.
Sanchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Lhakhang
The complex which houses higher learning and meditation center was built by Late Yab Ugyen Dorji. It is built on a ridge at Omolatsekha, Wolakha provides great o views of beautiful Wangdue and Punakha valley.