Punakha Dzong- Punakha
Punakha Dzong ( Fortress ) is a staggering ancient but well maintained fortress monument lying between the confluence of two rivers.
There is a beautiful cantilever bridge that one needs to cross over, an alternate entry into the Dzong.
Take careful steps while climbing the main entrance wooden ladder, which has over time worn out and thus become slippery due to natural wearing off of the wood.
This fortress is very significant to Bhutan’s history and present times, as all the Royal weddings take place in the courtyard of this monument, apart from the fact that every once a year the Punakha festival adorns the court yards too.
The Punakha Dzong, also known as Pungtang Dechen Photrang Dzong (meaning very awesome dzong “the palace of great happiness or bliss”), is the administrative centre of Punakha District in Punakha, Bhutan. Constructed by Ngawang Namgyal, 1st Zhabdrung Rinpoche, in 1637–38, it is the second oldest and second largest dzong in Bhutan and one of its most majestic structures.The dzong houses the sacred relics of the southern Drukpa Lineage of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism, including the Rangjung Kasarpani and the sacred remains of Ngawang Namgyal and the tertön Pema Lingpa.
Punakha Dzong was the administrative centre and the seat of the Government of Bhutan until 1955, when the capital was moved to Thimphu. It is listed as a tentative site in Bhutan’s Tentative List for UNESCO inclusion.
The Dzong is located at the confluence of the Pho Chhu (father) and Mo Chhu (mother) rivers in the Punakha–Wangdue valley. The source of the Mo chu river is in the northern hills of Lighsi and Laya in Bhutan, and in Tibet. The Po Chu River is fed by glaciers in the Lunana region of the Punakha valley. After the confluence of these two rivers, the main river is known as Puna Tsang chu or Sankosh River and flows down through Wangdue Phodrang, crosses the Bhutan–India border at Kalikhola and eventually meets the Brahmaputra River.
In view of the healthy climate in the region, Punakha is the winter capital of Bhutan. The head of the clergy of Bhutan with his entourage of monks spend the winter in this dzong. Jacaranda trees grow around the dzong, blooming with mauve flowers in the spring.
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