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Punakha Dzong

The second oldest dzong (fortress) in Bhutan and a splendid example of Bhutanese architecture

The beautiful Punakha Dzong lies at the confluence of the Po Chu and the Mo Chu Rivers. An excellent example of Bhutanese architecture, the dzong was built by Ngawang Namgyal in the 17th century. One has to cross a traditional wooden cantilever bridge built across the Mo Chu river to reach the fortress. This magnificent fortress is the official residence of the Bhutan’s central monk body. The dzong houses precious relics of the southern Drukpa lineage of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism. Being the second largest and second oldest dzong in Bhutan, Punakha Dzong is one of this Himalayan nations cultural treasures. The coronation ceremony of all the Bhutanese kings has been held here. The vibrant Punakha Dromche festival is celebrated on the grounds of this majestic fortress. Held on the first month of the Lunar calendar, energetic ‘Chams’ or masked dances are performed by the monks. The festival also sees the enactment of the Bhutanese-Tibetan war fought in the 17th century. Bhutan emerged as an independent nation after this war.

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