Punakha, was the winter capital of Bhutan for over 300 years before it was moved to Thimphu. Despite its historical significance (the first King of Bhutan was crowned in Punakha Dzong in 1907) Punakha is now a small village and most of the land in Punakha valley is used for cultivation.
Punakha Dzong (1,250m), has been damaged by fires, floods and earthquake over the centuries, but the Dzong has recently been fully restored to its original glory. The murals depicting the life of Buddha in the assembly hall are impressive – one of our clients recently likened the hall to the Sistine Chapel.
Chime Lhakhang, this temple was built for Lama Drukpa Kunley – the "Divine Madman". Childless couples travel from around the world to be blessed here by one of the wooden effigies of the "Erotic Lama" penis! Some take their children back to the temple to be named or send back photographs of the children that they have conceived since the blessing.
The Punakha valleys is also where you can visit Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten (on the Chorten Walk). The three-storey chorten was built by Her Majesty the Queen Ashi Tshering Yangdon in 1999 for the protection of the country. The views of Punakha valley from the top of the chorten are spectacular. You are not allowed to take photos inside but do take your camera to capture the views.