Best things to do in Punakha and sightseeing in Punakha
Chimi Lhakhang - Punakha
Chime Lhakhang or Monastery is a Buddhist monastery Located near Lobesa, it stands on a round hillock and was built in 1499 by the 14th Drukpa hierarch, Ngawang Choegyel, after the site was blessed by the "Divine Madman" the maverick saint Drukpa Kunley (1455–1529) who built a chorten on the site. In founding the site He is also the saint who advocated the use of phallus symbols as paintings on walls and as flying carved wooden phalluses on house tops at four corners of the eves. The monastery is the repository of the original wooden symbol of phallus that Kunley brought from Tibet. This wooden phallus is decorated with a silver handle and is used to bless people who visit the monastery on pilgrimage, particularly women seeking blessings to beget children.The tradition at the monastery is to strike pilgrims on the head with a 10 inch (25 cm) wooden phallus (erect penis). Traditionally symbols of an erect penis in Bhutan have been intended to drive away the evil eye and malicious gossip.
Chimi Lhakhang or Mad Man Monastery is situated on a hillock in the Punakha Valley. It was built in 1499 by Ngawang Choegyel, in honor of Drukpa Kunley a.k.a. Divine Madman after he subdued a demon of Dochu La with his “magic thunderbolt of wisdom” and trapped it in a rock and buried at the location where the monastery now stands. Chimi Lhakhang is renowned for its fertility blessings.
We took a 40-minute hike through rice fields to arrive at the Chimi Lhakhang Temple, which was built by Lama Drukpa Kuenley, who is also known as the Divine Mad Monk. This temple is known as the Temple of Fertility and as we went inside, the head monk blessed us with a wooden phallus, which is the symbol of fertility. You must visit this mostly because of the walk through the paddy fields. Very refreshing.
Lobesa - Metsina - Punakha
Lobesa, located some 100 kms east of Paro, served as the place of our accommodation on 28th Oct. morning when we checked in there for a couple of hours to freshen up for our day long trip to Paro, as well as for the night halt on the same day before bidding adieu to Bhutan the next day. Lobesa, as described by our guide, is the windiest town in Bhutan and also the most fertile in the otherwise mountainous kingdom. Time for something about our accommodation which was nothing more than an inn with all rooms on the ground only (i.e, no other floor above the ceiling). The inn was built as per the Buddhist architecture with each room having colourful & intricate paintings on its walls, which for any novice would mean nothing but would definitely attract a true connoisseur of art. And the best part of our room was breathtaking and panoramic view of the Himalayan ranges with paddy fields at the foothills. After quick bath, we had a quick breakfast too and set off for the 3 hours drive to Paro, which was our the last major phase of our Bhutanese trip.
Kunzang Zhing Resort - Punakha
Day 5 Punakha is set in subtropical valley, and we started the day with a visit to the Punakha Dzong. This 4-century-old fortress and monastery is considered the most beautiful of all Bhutan’s dzongs. In the afternoon we hiked across dry rice fields to the Temple of the Divine Madman, a beloved 17th century saint.
Khuruthang - Punakha
Punakha Dzong - Punakha
The most famous attraction at the small & sleepy town of Punakha (though it used to be seat of ancient kings of Bhutan) is the Pungtang Dechen Photrang Dzong (meaning "the palace of great happiness or bliss), also called as Punakha Dzong, which houses the administrative buildings of the entire Punakha Dzongkha (Bhutanese for districts or provinces). Located on the confluence of Pochhu (father) river and Mochhu (mother) river , it is one of the oldest and largest Dzong in Bhutan which was originally established in 1637 and thereafter, renovated several times to preserve its architectural splendour and majesty. After spending a lion's share of the time at the Dzong in personal photoshoots and capturing the landscapes around the structure, we visited a 14th century built monastery dedicated to a Buddhist saint Drupka kunley (also regarded as divine madman), called as Chimi Lhakhang. The monastery is quite modest and is marked by a Black Stupa where the divine madman had subdued a powerful demon. The monastery also famous for several penis like structures of Drupka kunley, which if worshipped, brings fertility among aspiring mothers. Then, at the end of the day we checked in a local inn for the night stay before moving to our next destination via. Thimphu the next day.