The essence of the experience
The Punakha Dzong, also known as the Pungtang Dechen Photrang Dzong, literally translates to the ‘palace of great happiness or bliss.’ The 180 metre long and 72 metre wide dzong is gloriously surrounded by lush, viridian foliage, with the fortresses white lower walls shrouded by lilac-hued jacaranda trees, effusing the region with perfumed fragrances. Regarded as Bhutan’s chief dzong, and administrative hub of the Punakha District, the fortress is both the second oldest and second largest dzong in the Kingdom. Widely acknowledged as the most artistic and aesthetically pleasing dzong in Bhutan, the nearly 400 year old fortress boasts a stunning six story central tower, whitewashed walls below gorgeous and intricately carved wood-line accents, and timber window panes. The Punakha Dzong was built by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, a Tibetan Buddhist lama and the uniter of Bhutan as a Kingdom. The fortress is celebrated as the fortress where every Bhutanese king has been crowned, as well as being the winter residence of the official monk body of the Kingdom. Walk across one of the countries lengthiest suspension bridges to explore the effigy lined structure, featuring a towering gold statue of Buddha, Guru Rinpoche, and Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, as well as paintings of one-thousand Buddhas. End the sensory inducing tour but venturing out to the north of the dzong to receive a blessing from the desire-fulfilling statue of Sakyamuni.