Punakha is a town in the Himalayas of Bhutan. It’s known for the Punakha Dzong, a 17th-century fortress at the juncture of the Pho and Mo Chhu rivers. Punakha valley has a pleasant climate with warm winters and hot summers. One of the most beautiful valleys in Bhutan it attracts many tourists.
Best Time to Visit
Spring season (March to May) is considered to be one of the best times to visit Punakha. Nature lovers will enjoy the spring blooms which blossom all across the city. The maximum temperature during this time of the year goes up to 26 degrees Celsius and the minimum drops down to 5 degrees Celsius.
Top Places to Visit Punakha
1. Punakha Dzong
Bhutan is renowned for its marvellous ancient architecture scattered throughout the land. Punakha Dzong is one such beautiful architecture and offers a stunning sight of the luminous aura of the white washed walls on a bright sunny day. Golden, red and black painted woods add to the charisma of this striking architecture. The Dzong is surrounded by the splendid natural beauty with lush green hills and clear blue sky as a backdrop. The Dzong is also of historical and traditional importance in Bhutan. For a long time it served as the capital. It also preserves the remains of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and holy artefact Ranjung Karsapani. The best time to visit the Punakha Dzong is mid-May when lavender coloured jacaranda trees blossom.
2. Chimi L hakhang Temple
One of the most revered temples of Bhutan, Chimi L’hakhang is considered as the temple of fertility, dedicated to Lama Drukpa Kuenley, popularly known as the Divine Madman. Lama Drukpa Kuenley is a legendry saint in Bhutan, who is much revered in the country but because of his unusual way of teaching, he is considered an eccentric. People from all across the country come to the temple to pray for children. The couples visiting the temple are sanctified with a wooden phallus, the imitation of the saint’s iron bow and arrows and his scriptures. Surrounded by the abundant paddy fields this temple is a must visit. The best time to visit the Chimi L’hakhang Temple is spring and autumn.
3. Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten
The Khamsam Yulley Namgyal Chorten is a beautiful monastery which is situated at a ridge above the Punakha Valley. f you want to have a view of the splendid architectural and artistic vision of the Bhutanese culture, this is the perfect place to visit. The place has become a huge tourist attraction place as it is one of its kind in the world. The extensive rice fields and miniature chortens that surround the temple also add up to the nice aura. There is no timing as such but since it’s a temple, the ideal timings are from early morning to evening.
4. Torsa Strict Nature Reserve
Torsa is one of the most famous tourist attractions for it is the only Nature Reserve in the world which has not been destroyed by human inhabitation. It is adorned with beautiful alpine and broad leaves tree forests, making it a favoured trekking route in Bhutan. The name came to existence from the River Toorsa which penetrates from Tibet. The Nature Reserve is situated at this Junction is bordering both Sikkim and China. The Nature reserve is also a dwelling to many species of endangered flora and fauna, Rufous necked Hornbill being one of them. A small lake, Sinchulunga, which is the source of fresh water stream is part of the Reserve; undisturbed by human settlement, this place showcases a unique tranquillity and serenity. Best season: March to September and Jan to March
5. Jigme Dorji National Park
The national park is an ideal place for trekking because of its magnificent spread of flora and fauna. Hence, it is also known as Trekker’s Paradise. The park is also the dwelling of the Semi Nomadic Community, Layap. Four rivers Mocchu, Pocchu,Wangchu, Pachu originate from this park; therefore is one of the largest contributors of Bhutan’s economy. Largest collection of medicinal baths and hot springs are here and it is the only place where the Snow leopard meets the Royal Bengal tiger. Best season: March to October.
Punakha Tshechu and Drubchen Festival
A popular annual festival usually in the month of March, Punakha Tshechu and Drubchen gets celebrated in Punakha which is located in the western side of Bhutan. The festival has great historical importance which makes it more popular among natives. This auspicious occasion was celebrated with the introduction of the celebration of Punakha Drubchen which is continued till date once every year. In 2005, Punakha Tshechu was introduced to preserve Buddhist documents and his teachings. Usually these festivals occur simultaneously and in both of them much entertainment is provided by performances in folk dance. Religious customs are performed in both the festivals in the same manner as done in earlier times.