Capture the deep cultural essence of Punakha
You will always love Punakha for its varieties of cultural opulence created by the country’s history. This district, levelling from 1300m at the valley floor rises to almost 3000m around Dochhula Pass, served as the capital of Bhutan from 1637 till 1907. The dzong of Punakha is historically important as the symbol of unified Bhutan. Witness Punakha festival and relish the revelry of medieval warriors along with textiles coming to life.
Punakha Dzong: Placed strategically at the junction of the Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu rivers, the dzong was built in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to serve as the religious and administrative centre. Damaged over the centuries by four catastrophic fires, floods and an earthquake, the dzong has been fully restored in recent years by the Fourth King Jigme Singye Wangchuck. At the dzong enrich your trip with the opportunity to see the highest standards in woodwork. Do not miss the massive Kuenray which is the Coronation Hall of all Bhutanese kings.
Khamsum Yueling Temple: There is no temple in Bhutan built elaborately as this. This fascinating temple built by the Queen Mother (Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuck) to bring universal peace in this world. The best of the spiritual art works are painted on the inner walls. There are also paintings of most Buddhist teachers and tutelary deities of the country. This is a great temple to study the symbolic meanings from frescoes and sculptures.
Chhimi Lhakhang: The Divine Madman also known as Drukpa Kinley was a famous teacher with whom the phallic symbol is associated. Tales told by your guide would have excited you to visit Chhimi Lhakhang. The Divine Madman sits there, though as statue this time. Do not miss the master’s deeds painted on the walls. Japanese and several American couples visited this temple and were blessed miraculously with children. Ask yourself, do I need this Fertility Tour or not?
Talo Excursion: A day excursion to Talo would be great with picnic lunch. The festival there happens in spring and will capture any visitor’s attention. Let your tour take you there in summer during corn harvest. It’s an adventure to enjoy corn harvest with the farmers and also an opportunity to mock a Himalayan bear! A walk through Talo and down to the other village of Nobgang will be a great day’s itinerary.
Nalanda Buddhist College: Locals call this place Dalayna and the monks call it Nalanda Buddhist College. If you want to chat up with monks in English then this is the place to go. The monks here are eager to practise the new language they learn. Drive there in the afternoon and enjoy your evening tea supplemented by the ravishing view beneath.
Chorten Nigpo walks: The walk to Chorten Ningpo passes through several villages. Many visitors love this walk in summer and in autumn. In summer the rice fields are lush and gardens are filled with multitudes of vegetables and fruits. Likewise autumn enchants visitors with the golden hue of ripening rice. For adventure loving hard core walkers we recommend a detour to Hokotso, a lowland lake that holds many legends. This is recommended in autumn and winter months.