Punakha – Amazing Bhutan

Prior to Thimphu, Punakha was the capital of Bhutan and one of the administrative centers of Bhutan. It’s almost 70 km away from Thimphu and takes 3 hours to reach by cab. Punakha is warmer in the winters and hot in the summers. This valley is famous for mainly rice farming both red and white. One of the main attractions of this place is Punakha Dzong which is at the confluence of the two rivers, Pho Chu and Mo Chu, making Punakha the river valley of Bhutan.

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How did I reach Punakha

I got a shared cab from Thimphu taxi stand to my farm stay in Phunakha.
Things I did in Puankha

Dochula Pass

The pass is at the elevation of 10,200 feet in the Eastern  Himalayan snow covered mountains, which is on the way from Thimphu to Punakha. The snow covered mountains over looking the 108 stupas or chortens is a sight worth seeing. The temperature around this place is really low and the view is awe-inspiring.

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Dochula Pass

 

Stay with Locals

In all my travels I want to have the local experience. I stayed at the farm stay booked on Airbnb with a family of farmers. They own a farming land and all that is served, is from their land. Starting from vegetables, fruits, all the dairy products, chicken etc all were from their farm.

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View from the farm stay

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Hiking through the farm field

This was one of a kind experience I had in Punakha. So it was not pre-planned, rather it was suggested by my host. The sun rays falling on the agricultural field giving it a golden touch was a spectacular view. I was excited to start the hike and by the time I was down I was filled with gratitude.

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Farm land

 

Suspension Bridge

The river valley, Punakha is home to the magnificent Iron Suspension Bridge, a well known landmark of Punakha. The bridge connects the administrative office Punakha Dzong to the rest of the valley. The bridge is 160 to 180 meters long and rests over the river Pho chu. The setting sun shining on the aqua green river was alluring.

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Pho Chu

 

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Suspension Bridge

 

Chimi Lakhang aka Fertility Temple

The legend has it, the lama Drukpa Kinley aka Divine Madman warded off evil with his Phallus. The entire village has paintings of Phallus in the houses, buildings and shops. Also one can find Phallus key rings and souvenirs being sold as it is considered to bring positive energy. It is also believed that couples who come here are blessed with a baby within a year.

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Brownie Points

  1. Before entering Punakha please make sure to get the permit done in Thimphu.
  2. While hiking in the farmland don’t panic, just go with the flow.
  3. Please maintain cleanliness and sanctity of the place.
  4. Punakha Dzong closes by 4:30 PM in the winters and 5:00 PM in the summers.
  5. Please be matured and have an open mind while visiting Chimi Lakhang aka Fertility temple. Please don’t hurt anyone’s religious sentiments.
  6. Photography inside the temple is not allowed.

Quick Budget

Cab to Punakha farmstay from Thimphu – Rs 600
Meal at the farmstay per person for a day – Rs 650

2 thoughts on “Punakha – Amazing Bhutan

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