Punakha is the administrative centre of Punakha dzongkhag, one of the 20 districts of Bhutan. Punakha was the capital of Bhutan and the seat of government until 1955, when the capital was moved to Thimphu. It is about 72 km away from Thimphu and it takes about 3 hours by car from the capital Thimphu.
It is located at an elevation of 1,200 metres above sea level and rice is grown as the main crop along the river valleys of two main rivers of Bhutan, the Pho Chu and Mo Chu. There are a lot of points to cover here, sharing some major points below.
Places to visit in Punakha:
Chimi Lhakhang, also known as Chime Lhakhang or Monastery or temple, is a Buddhist monastery in Punakha District, Bhutan. Located near Lobesa, it stands on a round hillock and was built in 1499 by the 14th Drukpa hierarch, Ngawang Choegyel. The monastery is the repository of the original wooden symbol of phallus that Kunley brought from Tibet. This wooden phallus is decorated with a silver handle and is used to bless people who visit the monastery on pilgrimage, particularly women seeking blessings to beget children.
Dochu La Pass
The Dochula Pass is a mountain pass in the snow covered Himalayas within Bhutan on the road from Thimpu to Punakha where 108 memorial chortens or stupas known as "Druk Wangyal Chortens" have been built by Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuk, the eldest Queen Mother.
Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten
Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten (stupa) was built in 2004 by HM the Queen Mother, Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuck, in Nyizergang — about a thirty-minute walk uphill from the footbridge in Yepaisa Village. Its exterior is in the form of a pagoda like stupa while the interior consists of four stories containing images of the deities of mandalas of Vajarakilaya.
The Punakha Dzong is also known as Pungthang Dewa chhenbi Phodrang (meaning "the palace of great happiness or bliss". It 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.