Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The spectacular Punakha Dzong.


The highlight of my day today was visiting the Punakha Dzong ("zong") which is undoubtedly the most spectacular of all the Bhuddist monasteris in Bhutan.  I was excited to finally be able to see this magnificent landmark that I had seen countless images of when I was doing the pre-trip research for this trip.  By the way, it's the rooftops of the Punakha Dzong that I used as the background image for the banner for this blog.


The Punakha Dzong is the second oldest dzong in Bhutan and served as the administrative centre and the seat of the Government of Bhutan until 1955, when the capital was moved to Thimphu.

Tenzing had the driver pull over at roadside stop so we could all get down and capture the iconic photo of the dzong which sits on the confluence of two rivers - the Mo Chhu ("Mother") and the Po Chhu ("Father") rivers.   Tenzing kindly obliged to my request to pose in one of my photos.  Though I also have picture of me posing in front of the dzong, I like this picture of him better :-)

Next, Tenzing took us to a park located on the banks of the Mo Chhu, with a view of the dzong.  There, in the park, were some students from a nearby school doing their homework.  What an awesome place to be doing one's homework!


From the park, we had a fantastic view of the dzong.



A 55m (180 ft) long covered wooden cantilever bridge, in traditional Bhutanese style, takes visitors across the Mo Chhu River to the dzong.  The original bridge was built in the 17th century but was washed away by a flash flood in 1957. In 2006, construction on the present bridge began.  The bridge was completed in 2008, in time for the coronation of His Majesty King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, the 5th king of Bhutan.

The covered bridge is on the left, the dzong on the right.



Entrance to the bridge.









View of the dzong and the Mo Chhu from the bridge.



Front entrance to the dzong.  A lot of steps to climb up!


























Instead of taking a bunch of photos as I roamed inside the dzong complex, I decided to shoot video instead so come on a walk with me through this spectacular Bhuddist monastery.



The interior and exterior facades, doors and windows of Punakha Dzon are all adorned with handcrafted painted, carved and sculpted decorations.  It's a feast for the artistic eye!!




As I left Punakha Dzong, I decided that it would be the gold standard by which I would judge the beauty of all the other dzongs I would see because I cannot imaging seeing something more spectacular than this.