Punakha is a small town located in the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, situated at an elevation of 1,200 meters above sea level. It is the former capital of Bhutan and holds great historical significance in the country. The town is nestled in a fertile valley and is surrounded by lush green paddy fields, making it a picturesque destination for visitors.
One of the main attractions in Punakha is the Punakha Dzong, a beautiful fortress that dates back to the 17th century. It is situated at the confluence of two rivers, the Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu, and is considered one of the most majestic structures in Bhutan. The dzong was the seat of Bhutan's government until the capital was moved to Thimphu in the 1950s.
Another popular attraction in Punakha is the Chimi Lhakhang, a temple dedicated to the 'Divine Madman,' a saint who was known for his unconventional teachings and methods. The temple is believed to have the power to grant fertility to couples who visit it, and as a result, it is a popular destination for both locals and tourists.
Punakha is also famous for its scenic hikes and treks. Visitors can hike up to the Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten, a stupa built by the Queen Mother of Bhutan to bring peace and harmony to the world. The hike takes visitors through beautiful rice paddies and offers breathtaking views of the valley.
The town of Punakha is also known for its vibrant culture and festivals. The Punakha Tshechu is a popular festival that takes place every year in February or March and celebrates the victory of Bhutan over the Tibetan army in the 17th century. The festival includes masked dances, music, and other cultural performances.
Overall, Punakha is a charming destination that offers visitors a glimpse into Bhutan's rich history and culture. Its stunning landscapes, ancient temples, and colorful festivals make it a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Bhutan.