For over 300 years, Punakha served as the seat of the Bhutanese government, a beautifully scenic and fertile land in western Bhutan, steeped in regal history and mystique. Although the capital was moved to Thimphu in 1955, the region's majestic past can still be observed in its rich architectural fortress, the Punakha Dzong, housing the relics from an era when kings ruled from this valley.
The Punakha Dzong is an impressive sight to encounter, its white-washed walls dazzling at the convergence of two of Bhutan's most important rivers, the Mo Chhu and Pho Chhu ('mother' and 'father' rivers). The ornate red, gold and black wooden carvings of its architectural design make it one of the finest dzongs in the country, a sight enhanced further when the surrounding jacaranda trees explode into deep lilac blossom in spring.
The lush green hills of the Punakha valley offer a myriad of trekking opportunities, and the lower altitude of 1,200m means a mild winter and hot summer climate, a major draw for visitors. Conditions are perfect for rice farming, the region’s main crop. Breathtaking views of terraced rice paddies and rolling pine-forests make the area a magical and serene place to experience Bhutan's rural, natural beauty.