Places to Visit in Punakha

Places to visit in Punakha

Punakha

Punakha lies at the elevation of 1300m/4265ft. Punakha served as the capital of Bhutan until 1950s and still it is the winter seat of Je Khenpo (the chief abbot).  Punakha dzong lies in between two rivers Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu which provides Punakha valley fertile for crops and fruits. All of Bhutan’s kings have been crowned in this dzong.

 

Places of interest in and around Punakha

Punakha Dzong

Punakha Dzong is perhaps the most beautiful dzong in the country, especially  during the spring season when the jacaranda trees bring a  beautiful  flower and decorated the entire wall of the  dzong. This dzong was the second to be built in Bhutan by Zhabdrung Rinpoche and it is secound largest.  it served as the capital and seat of government until the mid-1950s. All of Bhutan’s kings have been crowned in this dzong. The dzong is still the winter residence of the Bhutan’s religious leader.

 

Chimi Lhakhang

Chimi Lhakhang, known to the English speaking world as The Fertility Temple, is a Buddhist monastery, in the Punakha valley of Bhutan, and it is built on a round top hill. The temple was built over half a millennium year ago by Ngawang Choegyel, the 14th Drukpa hierarch. The stupa, meditation hall, was constructed by the “Divine Madman,” the eccentric Yogi and saint Drukpa Kunley, who blessed the entire valley. The monastery is renowned throughout Bhutan as a fertility Temple, pledging that all who wish to conceive a baby will find guidance at the temple. Thousands pilgrimage visit The Fertility Temple in the hopes of having a child, as well as receiving a wang (blessing), from the saint with the ‘magic thunderbolt of wisdom.’ Couples with new-borns often visit the temple so that a local lama (Monk), Buddhist teacher, can give a name of the child. Travelers can also approach lamas for their unique Bhutanese name and special meaning. Drukpa Kunley preached Buddhism in a unusual manner, by way of song, comedy, and shocking sensual connotations. Legend has buried a dog-like demoness under the rotund earth, shaped in the female form that now stands under the Stupa floor. He actively encouraged phallus symbols to be used throughout the design of the temple in paintings and carvings. To this day, the monastery safeguards the original wooden phallus symbol, embedded with a silver handle, from Tibet, that is used to bless visitors and pilgrims. Chimi Lhakhang is one of the sacred place of Punakha Valley.

Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten

Khamsum Yuelley Namgyeal Chorten is located In the north of Punakha Valley.It is 30 Minute drive from Punakha dzong and it is 45 minutes hike from the end of road. It was built by the Queen Mother for heading off the negative forces and transportation peace and harmony for all the living beings. The Chorten provides stunning view of upper Punakha Valley across the Mo Chhu and up towards the mountainous peaks of Gasa.

 

Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Lhakhang Nunnery

This temple located on the hill side of punakha inside pine trees and overlooking valleys of Punakha and Wangduephodrang.  The temple houses a 14-foot main bronze statue of Avalokiteshvara (Chenrigzig chagtong chentong), statue of Guru Padmasambawa, Gautama Buddha, Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, Tsela Namsum, the 21 Taras and Tsepamay (Buddha of longevity). The Avalokiteshvara statue, one of the biggest in the country.  It is also place for meditation centre for nuns.  Apart from religious trainings, it provides life skill training such as tailoring, embroidery, statue making and thangka painting.

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