Constructed in 1637, the Punakha Dzong was the second fortress Dzong built in the country. Translated to mean ‘palace of great happiness or bliss’, its towering white walls form a beautiful contrast to the surrounding greens and blues. Celebrated as one of Bhutan’s oldest, largest and most striking fortified monasteries, the Punakha Dzong holds an important relic over which many wars were fought with the Tibetans. The Dzong holds a sacred place in the hearts of all Bhutanese.
The first National Assembly was held here in 1953, as well as the royal wedding between King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and Queen Jetsun Pema in 2011. It is also the winter home of the central monastic body, and all of Bhutan’s kings are crowned here before they can take their throne in the capital city of Thimphu.
Punakha Dzong’s magnificence is especially striking in the spring when the lilac-coloured jacaranda trees are in full bloom.