Location: Western Bhutan
Distance from Thimphu: 77 km(3 Hrs)
Elevation: 1350m/ 4430ft above sea level
Punakha (1,310m) is Bhutan’s ancient capital and the winter seat of the Central Monastic Body due to its sub-tropical climate. Punakha has been inextricably linked to some of the most momentous events in the Bhutanese history and deserves its reputation as one of the most beautiful and significant regions at the heart of Bhutanese culture.
The Punakha Dzong, built in 1637 by the Shabdrung (the unifier of Bhutan), is situated on a triangular spit of land at the confluence of two rivers. The body of the Shabdrung, who died in 1651 while in meditation at Punakha, is preserved at the Dzong. Its main temple is breathtaking with four intricately embossed entrance pillars crafted from cypress and decorated in gold and silver.
Placed strategically at the junction of the Pho Chu and Mo Chu rivers, the dzong was built in 1637 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to serve as the religious and administrative seat of the Punakha: The ethereal ancient capital.