Punakha – Bhutan
Punakha situated at a height of 4,265 ft. above the sea level and in a low altitude sub-tropical valley served as the capital of Bhutan until 1955 and still remains the seat of the Je – Khenpo ( Chief Abbot). Punakha is 72 kms from Thimpu and experiences quite warm winter and hot in summer. Punakha district is the most fertile in Bhutan as it is fed by the rivers Pho Chu ( Male) and Mo Chu ( Female).
The road to Punakha from Thimpu crosses Dochula Pass (10,130 ft) before descending to Punakha. From the top of the pass spellbound view of the eastern Himalayan snow clad summits mesmerizes on lookers.
Built during 1637-1638 AD by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, Punakha Dzong located on the confluence of Pho Chu ( Male) and Mo – Chu ( Female) is one of the most attractive Dzong in Bhutan and serve the religious and administrative centre of the region. Punakha Dzong witnessed two most historical events in Bhutan. In 1907, the coronation ceremony of Ugyen Wangchuk – the first king of the modern Bhutan held here and in 1910 the historic treaty between British Govt. and the King of Bhutan, where British agreed not to interfere in Bhutan’s internal affair but direct its foreign affairs signed here.
The original Dzong was destroyed by four catastrophic fires and an earthquake over the centuries. Now the Dzong has been face lifted and fully restored by the present monarch of Bhutan.
Punakha town, which was previously adjacent to the Dzong has now shifted to the few kms down to the valley from the Dzong after the devastating flood in 1990s.
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