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Punakha

Punakha in Bhutan

Punakha perched at an altitude of 3937 ft is a historic town of Bhutan. Situated along the banks of Pho Chuu and Mo Chuu Punakha is blessed with rich alluvial soil making it the rice bowl of Bhutan. Apart from being a historic town Punakha with its surreal landscape has been deemed as one of the most pictorial places to visit in Bhutan.

Interesting Fact about Punakha

Till 1955 Punakha was the capital town of Bhutan.

Places to Visit in and around Punakha

  • Dochula Pass
  • Punakha Ritsha Village
  • Nalanda Buddhist Institute
  • Talo

Religious Places to Visit in Punakha

  • Punakha Dzong
  • Chimi Lhakhang
  • Limbukha
  • Khamsum Yulley Chorten
  • Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Nunnery

Important sites

Punakha Dzong: In 1637 Zabdrung Ngawang Namgyal built Pungthang Dewachen Phodrang (Palace of Great Happiness) or Punakha Dzong. This Dzong was built in only 2 years time and considered to be the beautiful most Dzong of the kingdom. The Dzong preserves the most sacred relics of the Southern Drukpa Kagyu. 

The first king of Bhutan Ugyen Wangchuck was coroneted in Punakha Dzong in the year 1907.  A treaty between Bhutan monarch and British was signed here in the year 1910.  Where Bhutan allowed Britain to direct its foreign affairs British agreed not to interfere in Bhutanese internal affairs.

In 1987, the dzong was partially destroyed by fire.

Ritsha Village: Ritsha in local language means ‘base of a hill’. For rice farming this village in Punakha valley is famous in Bhutan. Along the rivers Pho and Mo Chhu both red and white rice are grown here. From Punakha-Gasa highway Ritsha village is only 1 km away. This is a model rice growing village in Bhutan.

Things to Do In Punakha

  • Hiking to Talo
  • Mountain Biking in Dochula Pass
  • River rafting in Mo Chu
  • Trekking

How to Reach Punakha

By Rail: The nearest railway station of Punakha is the Hasimara Railway station. Visitors can either board a train for Hasimara or Alipurduar Railway Station. It is an overall 9hr trip to reach Punakha from these junctions.

The distance between Hasimara to Punakha is 259 km and the distance between Alipurduar to Punakha is 298 km.

By Road: Visitors can also reach Punakha by taking 7hr drive from Phuentsholing.

The distance between Phuentsholing to Punakha is 241 km.

By Airport: The nearest airport of Punakha is the Paro International Airport. It is an overall 4hrs journey to reach Punakha from Paro International Airport.

The distance between Paro to Punakha is 124 km.

Travellers can cover this distance to reach Punakha by directly hiring a car. With car rental service of North Bengal Tourism travellers can rent a car or hire a taxi to reach Punakha from all of these places at a reasonable car fare.

Best Time to Visit Punakha

April-June: During this time of the year, Punakha is adorned with the colourful vista of blooming flowers. The pleasant weather of Punakha is an added charm of visiting Punakha, Bhutan in spring season.

July-September: During this time of the year, Punakha receives an average rainfall and occasional thunder storm. Due to the sudden weather change the road leading to Punakha becomes prone to road block due to landslides. But if visitors can overlook this fact, monsoon is also an ideal time of visit Punakha.

October-March: Winter season is the best time to visit Punakha. During this time of the year, the sky remains mostly clear in Paro which ensure the panoramic view of mountains and meadows enclosing Punakha. This is also an ideal time to visit Punakha if visitors want to partake in activities like trekking, river rafting and mountain biking in Punakha.

To visit Punakha Bhutan Holidays offers tailor made package tour to stay at Punakha at affordable price.

Hotels in Punakha

Being one of the must visit places in Bhutan, there are many options of accommodations in Punakha. Visitors can either stay in home stays, resorts, and budget hostels in Punakha. With Hotel Booking services of Bhutan Holidays travellers can easily choose a place to stay in Punakha according to their liking and budget.

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