Punakha is 2 hours drive from Dochu-La pass. Punakha Dzong ancient capital of Bhutan is a set on a spit of land just above the junction where the river Pho Chu and Mo Chu meet to form the Sunkosh in the south. It was built in 17th Century by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, to serve as the religious and administrative center. Punakha Dzong is home to the central monk body and the Je Khenpo (the spiritual leader) during the winter months.
Punakha’s climate and warmer temperatures makes the valley one of the most fertile in Bhutan. One of the most striking features of the valley is its abundance of crops and vast terraces of rice fields which change from lush green in summer to golden yellow in autumn. Chime Lakhang, located on a hillock among the rice fields is picturesque and is a pilgrimage site for childless couples. The temple is associated with the famous holy man, Drukpa Kuenlay, who built a chorten on the site.
The Dzong has been damaged by fires, flood and earthquake on number of times and many historic documents destroyed. Punakha Dzong houses sacred temples including the Marchen where the embalmed body of Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal lies in state.The Dzong has been fully restored by the present King. Tashithang’ a site for birdwatching; it lies on the route to the Gasa and Laya areas.