Punakha is low laying region unlike other places like Thimphu and Paro. Punakha lies at the elevation of 1350m above sea level. It was capital for Bhutan till 1952. Punakha lies along the beautiful Punatshang chhu river which serves as now energy source for the Mega Hydro power plant along the river generating over 1500 Mega watt of electricity with (Punatshang Chhu Hydro Power Authority) PHPA I and PHPA II coming up which contributes to the revenue generations of the nation.
Chimi Lhakhang (temple of fertility)
This temple is famously known as the temple of fertility to the western world. It is located on the ridge over looking Lobesa. The temple is famous with the story of the lam Drukpa Kinley also known as divine madman. With unusual sign of Phallus all over the place one will know those are dedicated to the temple of fertility upon nearing the place. Especially many barren couples come to this temple to get blessing for a child and some claims miraculously that they were blessed with a child after the visit to the temple.
Punakha Dzong (fortress)
The fortress is also known as Pungthang Dechen Phodrang which means “Palace of great bliss/happiness. It is beautifully located between two rivers Pho chhu (male) to the right and mo chhu (female) to the left which literally looks like giant anchored ship in itself. Many visitors claim it to be one of the most beautiful fortresses in the country because of its architectural designs and its location.
Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten
Further to north of Punakha, one can find this beautiful Stupa or Temple built on ridge near the Punakha river which will take around 30 minutes to get there from the town. It was built in honor for then Crown Price Jigme Kheser Namgyel Wangchuk. It was built in 1990s and took period of nearly 8 years to complete.
Rinchengang village hikes
This village is known a Rinchgang. It is a compact village and it is believed to be one of the oldest villages in the country. History says many people from here aided for the construction of the fortress as they were finest stonemasons and craftsmen. Only in early 1990s electricity, water and schools arrived in this village.
The valley is also known as valley of Black necked crane as it is the winter home for the crane which comes from the Tibetan plateau and stays here for nearly 6 months. It is an endangered species and there are only few of them remaining in the whole world. These cranes have special place in the heart of people of the region and crane festival is celebrated every year in the honor of cranes. The landscape of the valley is of bowel shape as history and archogical research says that it was form with the outburst of glacial lake. Main source of revenue for the people of the region is potatoes as it is grown abundantly. It is main cash crop and it is mainly exported to India and Bangladesh. Now there are few hotels, restaurants and few of the houses has been converted into farmhouse in the region which in turn contributes to economy of the region.
Gangtey Gompa is beautifully located over looking Phobjikha valley. It is the only Nyimapa sect Buddhist monastery located in the western region. As legend says during 15th Century terton (treasure reveler) Pema Lingpa prophesied that a monastery would be built on gang-teng (hill top) from where Buddhism will be spread.
Gangtey Natural Trail
This is indeed the beautiful and simple hike down from the monastery on a stretch of 4km at elevation of 2800 maximum. One will be enjoying beautiful scenery along the trail.