Photographer's Note

This is Punakha Dzong in western Bhutan, located a short distance north of the main highway running through the country from the west to the east.

Here is a larger version.

In the workshop you can see Punakha Dzong from another angle, unfortunately in a rather harsh light. There is also a view from the beautiful countryside of the Punakha valley, a short distance north of the dzong.

Punakha Dzong was built in 1637-38, making it the country's second oldest (next to one in a district south of the capital Thimphu). It is also the second largest dzong (next to the one in Trongsa). It was the seat of Bhutan's government until 1955, when the religious and political leadership moved to Thimphu. Punakha is still regarded as the country's winter capital. The head of the Buddhist clergy and his entourage of monks spend the winters here because of the milder climate of the Punakha valley at only 1.200 meters above sea level.

Since the Kingdom of Bhutan was founded in 1907, all kings have been crowned in Punakha dzong, the current ruler Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck becoming the fifth Druk Gyalpo (Dragon King) in 2008. The most recent royal marriage, between King Jigme Khesar and his fiance Jetsun Pema, was held here in 2011.

Before the monarchy was established, Bhutan had a dual system of government divided between the secular and religious administrations, where the religious head had the nominal authority. Even today the religious head is regarded as the king's equal.

Because Punakha Dzong is situated at the confluence of two rivers it has been damaged by floods several times. It was also severely damaged by fire in 1987.

Recently I posted a photo of Rinpung Dzong in Paro district. Years ago I showed you the dzong of Wangdue Phodrang a few km south of Punakha, and a small part of the one in Jakar, much further east. Wangdue Phodrang Dzong, which was my favourite, was completely destroyed by fire in 2012 but is reported to be largely rebuilt by now.

All these photos were scanned from Kodachrome slides.

Photo Information
  • Copyright: Gert Holmertz (holmertz) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 9624 W: 511 N: 18690] (82764)
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  • Date Taken: 2003-10-00
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  • Date Submitted: 2019-01-15 0:42
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Additional Photos by Gert Holmertz (holmertz) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 9624 W: 511 N: 18690] (82764)
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