What’s a Dzong?
Interestingly, Dzong is a unique type of architecture which resembles a fortress. The Dzongs were built to serve purposes of an administrative capital, to house the clergy and as garrisons during times of festivities. The Punakha Dzong takes its name after the district in which it lies; Punakha. The Dzong’s are usually very intricate in their designs and mimic the architectural traits of royal palaces.
A little bit about Punakha Dzong
Located on the banks of the beautiful Pho Chu and Mo Chu rivers, Punakha Dzong is Punakha’s administrative centre. Enchanting scenes enshroud this building complex which is nestled in the Punakha-Wangdue valley. Undoubtedly one of the most enchanting structures in Bhutan, the Punakha Dzong was built by Ngawang Namgyal in the early 1600s. Today, it’s a Buddhist temple that houses the remains of the most venerated Rangjung Kasarpani and Ngawang Namgyal.
The Punakha Dzong was incidentally the administrative hub of Bhutan up until 1955 when the capital was relocated to its current capital, Thimphu.
How to get there and where to stay
Although this administrative centre turned temple is situated in the beautiful hillside of Bhutan it does not necessarily attract very many travellers since the area is quite far off from other main cities. Many visitors opt to stay at more frequented places like Paro and stay over in any good Paro hotel which offers ideal accommodation like COMO Uma Paro. You can plan a day trip to Punakha from this COMO Uma Bhutan property. The district of Punakha is approximately a 73 kilometre ride from the country’s bustling capital of Thimphu.
Things not to miss
The Punakha Dzong hosts very colourful festivals that take place annually like the Demoche which draws in participants from far-off districts. The Demoche is a 5-day long festival which displays self-created images of much venerated figure Avalokiteshvara. The festival is also known as ‘Punakha Festival’ among many locals and showcases a re-enactment of the days when Bhutan was under foreign invasion.
Other festivals include the Lhenkey Dungchhur, a ritual performed in remembrance of souls that have departed.
Auburn Silver is a travel writer who has a passion for fashion and a deep interest in admiring new and exotic attractions around the world.