DAY 03: THIMPHU – PUNAKHA
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and dinner
We will be moving further away from Thimphu to Punakha, which is a three hour drive.
45 minutes from Thimphu is the Dochula pass (3,100m), offering you the first glimpse of the eastern Himalayan Ranges, consisting of snow-capped mountain peaks with heights ranging from 6000m to 7554m. During the stopover there, you can also see the 108 stupas (chortens) built around a mound.
The drive then descends and passes through beautiful forests, comprising rhododendron, fields of dwarf bamboo green meadows, beautiful wildflowers, gushing waterfalls and constantly changing vegetation. Before reaching Punakha, we will visit Chimi Lhakhang, a temple where the Phallus is worshipped and associated with Lam Drukpa Kuenley, the “Divine Madmonk.” It is about 1 hour hike (to and fro) from the road point. We will have our lunch here.
As we near our next destination, Punakha, we will witness an awe-inspiring image of the Punakha Fortress, which looks like a giant ship rocked on a still mass of water from far. Built on the confluence of two rivers, the Pho (male) and Mo (female) rivers, the Dzong served as the capital of Bhutan until 1955 and is still home of the Chief Abbot in winter months. It was built in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and has played a prominent role in the civil and religious history of the Kingdom. Destroyed four times by fire and an earthquake in 1897, the Dzong has been now fully restored in its original splendour.
Also we will visit longest suspension bridge in Bhutan.
Overnight in Punakha