Tshechu Festivel in Punakha Dzong, Bhutan
Situated at the juncture of two beautiful rivers the Pho and Mo Chhu rivers, Punakha is the ancient capital city in west-central Bhutan. Punakha was founded in 1577 and was replaced by Thimphu as capital in 1955. Punakha is famous for its amazing 17th-century fortress, its unique techniques for growing rice as well its beautiful Dzong architecture. In Punakha, you can spend 2 or 3 days exploring its places of interest like Dochula Pass, Chimi Lhakhang, Limbukha Village, Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten, Punakha Dzong, Khuru Temple/Zangdo Pelri Lhakhang... Here are some places to visit for your Punakha tour in Bhutan.
Dochula Pass (108 memorial chortens) is a place in honor of 108 Bhutanese Soldiers, there are 108 stupas called the "Druk Wangyal Chortens" representing each soldier's life that was lost in the war of December 2003. The pass is decorated with colorful prayer flags which are symbols of veneration and the best wishes for peace and prosperity for Bhutan. If the weather is good, the Dochula Pass will become the best platform to get breathtaking views of the snow-covered Himalayas.
Dochula Pass, Phunakha of Bhutan
National Memorial Chorten is the most visited landmark of Thimphu which was built in 1974 in memory of the Third King, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuk(the Father of Modern Bhutan) by his mother. Due to the idea of Jigme Dorji, this stupa is dedicated to world peace and prosperity. It is a Tibetan-style chorten with amazing paintings and brilliant sculptures, you can see the classical stupa pattern like the pyramidal pillar crowned by a crescent moon and sun. It is also a good place to meet local Bhutanese people circumambulating the Chorten throughout the day in a clockwise direction for praying.
Chimi Lhakhang, Punakha of Bhutan
Tashichho Dzong(Thimphu Dzong) is located on the right side of the Wangchu River in the northern part of Thimphu city. As the "Fortress of the glorious religion", it houses the throne room of His Majesty the King, government offices, and the central monk body. Thimphu Dzong was initially erected in 1641 and rebuilt by King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck in the 1960s. There are two main entrances in the Tashichho Dzong. One leads to the administrative section to the south and the other one (at the north) leads to the monastic quarter where festivals and dances are performed.
Punakha Dzong, Bhutan
Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten is on the west bank of the Mo Chhu river. After across a suspension bridge, it is about 45mins' walk from the main road to the Chorten(stupa). The stupa was built in 1990 by Ashi Tsering Yangdon Wangchuck(the wife of King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck) to drive off evil forces and bring peace to Bhutan and the world. This Chorten was a typical combination of the art, architecture, and traditions of Bhutan. It took Bhutanese carpenters, painters, and sculptors 9 years to finish this Bhutan-style pagoda. Also, you will get an excellent view of the Punakha Valley and Punakha Dzong there.
Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten, Punakha of Bhutan
Limbukha Village is known for its love of peace and tranquility. During the annual festival, the Limbuk men are found carrying peace flags instead of swords and fireworks. We can walk along its red rice fields and have an idea about Bhutan's famous red rice which is supposed to have medicinal value. Also, you may meet local farmers in their tradition Gho or Kira working in the field with a pure smile on their face.
Limbukha Village, Punakha of Bhutan
Khuruthang Zangdopelri Lhakhang (Khuru Temple, Zangdo Pelri Lhakhang) is located by the Wogmin Ngayabcholing Monastery (Khuruthang Lhakhang) which was built with the main support of Yab Dasho Ugyen Dorji, the father of Their Majesties the Queen of the Fourth Druk Gyalpo. The original name was Khurung (Khur rung) but later the pronunciation changed slightly and came to be known as khuru. The name probably could have been based on the shape of the temple built originally by the Great Pandita Ngai Rinchen because that temple was in the shape of the talking statue of Guru Rinpoche.
Wogmin Ngayabcholing Monastery near the Khuru Temple, Punakha of Bhutan
Sure, besides Dochula Pass, Chimi Lhakhang, Limbukha Village, Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten, Punakha Dzong, Khuru Temple/Zangdo Pelri Lhakhang, there is more for you to visit around Punakha.
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