Photographer's Note

Punakha Dzong was built at the confluence of the Pho Chhu (male) and Mo Chhu (female) rivers (chhu means river) by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1637. The construction of the Dzong was foretold by Guru Rimpoche, who predicted, “…a person named Namgyal will arrive at a hill that looks like an elephant”.

Punakha Dzong houses many sacred temples including the Lhakhang, where the embalmed body of Shabdrung lies in state. Damaged four times by fire in the late 18th and early 19th centuries and by earthquake in 1897, the Punakha Dzong has suffered the devastation brought by floods which sweep down valley as the snows melt in the great northern glaciers, while bridges which connect the Dzong with the fertile valley on either side were, until recent times, often completely destroyed. The Dzong has been completely restored and permanent bridges built on either side.

Until the sixties, Punakha was the winter capital in Bhutan due to its more temperate climate. Since then Timphu, which was the summer capital, has been made the only capital of Bhutan.

I posted earlier a view of the dzong from the other side of the river. Here is a "close-up" of one of the very tall buildings from one of the small inner courtyards. Notice the almost vertical stairs at the entrance.

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Additional Photos by JM Hullot (vincz) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2604 W: 77 N: 5252] (19113)
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