All about Punakha

Located on the banks of two rivers: Pho Chhu (meaning father) and Mo Chhu (meaning mother), Punakha is a small but culturally very important city in central Bhutan and well connected by road. It is one such place where I would love to settle in and enjoy rest of my life in peace.

Everyone in the city knows everyone else making it one big joint family. The ever-glowing faced locals are always happy to help. The small food joints serve splendid Bhutanese cuisine.The quietly flowing rivers intricately polishes the white rocks in smooth round shape giving it an ‘out-of-fairy-tale’ look. Don’t believe me? See for yourself:

IMG_20150304_173551

 

Reaching Punakha

Either you can hire a taxi from Thimpu or take 3 –hour bus morning from Thimpu bus stand. Taking taxi would be better option as the route is very beautiful and one can take any number of short and long breaks.

Also the road from Thimpu to Punakha is being widened owing to which roads are blocked for some hours in the morning and evening.

Staying in Punakha

Once in Punakha, you have three options – return on the same day, stay at a costly river side resorts or stay in very cheap hotel and soak in the grandeur of the city. We chose the third option which helped us in normalizing the rather expensive Phobjikha leg of our trip.

However we spend our evening sipping tea and snacking at the beautiful riverfront lawn of Dhamchen resort plus we got free wifi :). It is a must go place.

Rate of Hotel Shivaling: INR 600 for double bed room (negotiated rate) ((Phone: (00975) 77467415)

Rate of Damchen resort: Approximately INR 5000 (Phone: (00975) 2584367/2584368 |     Email: damchenresorts@gmail.com; reservation@damchenresorts.com)

Places to visit in Punakha

Punakha Dzong

It is the second oldest and most stunning dzong of Bhutan. It was the administrative center and the seat of the Government of Bhutan until 1955. It stands majestically at the confluence of the Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu rivers in the Punakha–Wangdue valley.

The dzong has three courtyards: the first courtyard is for administrative functions and houses a huge chorten with a Bodhi tree. The second courtyard houses the monastic quarters and the third one houses the main temple

Locals told me that during spring the dzong gets decorated with the lilac-coloured jacaranda trees that grow around it. I would love to visit it once during that time.

IMG_20150304_155617

IMG_20150304_151958

Dochula Pass

It is at the mid way between Thimpu and Punakha and windiest place in Bhutan. The moment you exit the car, you will be literally and actually blown away. Literally by the views of majestic Himalayan ranges and actually by the fierce wind. It is also the location of 108 chortens constructed as a memorial to honor the victory of the Bhutanese army in the 2003 war of Southern Bhutan

IMG_20150305_101435.jpg

thimpu-51

Punakha suspension bridge

Punakha is home to Bhutan’s longest suspension bridge which is close to 400m long. Do cross it.

punakha-6

Chimi Lhakhang

It is another dzong near Punakha (Lobesa to be precise) famous for phallus paintings. We were running short on time so skipped it.

River side somewhere outside Punakha

The crystal clear water and white sand was so mesmerizing that we parked our car and got down to river banks to click some amazing pics. If you travel from Punakha to Phobijikha, there are many such pretty places

punakha_n-2

IMG_20150304_133500
Up up and away !!!

Eating in Punakha

The city has few restaurants only which serves buffet meals mostly. Eat at Phuenzhi Diner restaurant for set Bhutanese meal. Try classical noodles, vegetables, rice at open buffet and ema datshi dishes.

Most importantly, spend you evening with coffee, sandwich and french fries at Damchen Resort

Also eat at the Dochula Restaurant located atop the Dochula pass if you are not in a hurry. It has a semi-circular glass enclosed sitting area apart from outside sitting and toilet facilities

IMG_20150304_175033

punakha-9

IMG_20150304_173725

 

3 thoughts on “All about Punakha

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s