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Punakha Dzong (The Palace Of Great Bliss)

 

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Popularly known as the Punakha Dzong, Punthang Dechen Phodrang (The Palace of Great Bliss) was built in 1637 by the Zhabdrung. The gigantic Dzong was damaged 6 times by fire, once by flood and once by an earthquake.On 17 December, 1907, the first king of Bhutan, Ugyen Wangchuck, was crowned here. The Machen Lhakhang, a temple inside the Dzong enshrines the mummified body of the Zhabdrung who passed away in retreat here in 1651. Dzongchung (or the little Dzong), built in 1328 by saint Ngagi Rinchen can still be seen opposite the main Dzong. The spectacular Kuenrey (assembly hall) in Punakha Dzong is open to the tourists

 

Khamsum Yulley Namgyal

Khamsum Yulley Namgyal

It is a splendid example of Bhutan’s fine architectural and artistic traditions and the only one of its kind in the world. Built by Her Majesty the Queen Mother, this temple is dedicated for the well being of the kingdom and the benefit of all sentient beings.

A 30-minute drive from the Punakha Dzong will bring you to the base of the hill on which this temple is built. From the car park, you have to cross a suspension bridge and walk through rice fields before you start climbing a moderately inclined trail surrounded by pine trees. It takes about 1 hour from the car park to hike up to the temple, and 30 minutes to hike down. During the summer, the walk could be a bit muddy, so be prepared. A hiking pole is recommended.