May 16, 2007

Punakha Valley : A Must Visit Place in Bhutan

Punakha is situated at 4420 feet from the sea level and it is the old capital of Bhutan. It was in this place that Gongsar Ugyen wangchuck was enthroned as the first king of Bhutan and still today Punakha serves as the winter seat of chief Abbot and central monk body. During 1955 the capital had been shifted to Thimphu and still Thimphu resumes the capital of Bhutan.

Punakha is historically significant place as it was at this place where Bhutanese defended against the Tibetan invasion in late seventeenth century. The Annual Dromchhe of Punakha brings us the clear reminder of the victory over Tibetan war. It was by our first Zhabdrung Lama who performed the miracle on the bank of Mo chuu where the precious relic was faultily thrown into the river and the Tibetans were fooled, there fore emerging ourselves on the victorious side.

The Punakha Dzong was constructed by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1637-38. It is the winter home of Bhutan's Central Monk Body led by the Je Khenpo. In 1907, Punakha Dzong was the site of the coronation of Ugyen Wangchuck (or Deb Nagpo) as the first King of Bhutan. Three years later, a treaty was signed at Punankha whereby the British agreed not to interfere in Bhutanese internal affairs and Bhutan allowed Britain to direct its foreign affairs.In 1987, the dzong was partially destroyed by fire.

Due to its location at the confluence of the Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu rivers in the Punakha-Wangdue valley, the dzong is vulnerable to flash flooding caused by glacier lakes (GLOF). According to a recent report, flash flood damage to Punakha Dzong occurred in 1957, 1960 and 1994.
The dzong also houses the office of district administration and winter residence of chief abbot and central monk body.

Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chhorten : Built by the third queen, ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuck, this chhorten is a splendid example of fine Bhutanese architecture and are and is the only of its kind in the world. It took eight and half year to bring to its present stature and the details have been drawn from religious scripture. Located towards the north of punakha fortress, it is half an hour drive with beautiful villages and pine forest in the vicinity.

Chhimi Lhakhang : It is beautifully located on the raised hill top with a glamorous terraced field and village in the foreground. The history dates back at the time of famous Tibetan saint (Lam Drukpa Kinley) who lived in Bhutan flourishing the Drukpa teaching. He had a very unique means of preaching-he often spread the teaching in the form of songs, jokes; story. He often loved women and sex. But his intention was not ugly and his uniqueness of preaching gained popularity.


cosmicdust said...

wow! great ones...two in a row (i mean the wangdue phodrang:)...mmm...i must use one of your articles in my travel blog since it has become kind of stale and stagnant at the moment...what do you say? :)

ugyen said...

You can use any of my article, anytime man.
thanks for the comment

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