Punakha Dzong, also known as Pungthang Dewachen Poi Phodrang was built in 1637 by Zhabdrung, though it was already occupied by Lam Ngagi Rinchen, who have constructed a small temple in 1328 which is now called Dzonchung which means "Little Dzong which can still be seen opposite to big fortress. Its constructed at the confluence of 2 rivers Phochu and Mo chu.
The dzong was damaged 6 times by fire, twice by a flash flood, and once by earthquake. In 1985 by fire and then in 1994 by flash flood due to outburst of glacier lake at Lunana which caused major damage. After that, it was reconstructed both the main fortress and Dzonghung and consecrated in 2003.
This is one of the historic fortresses which has served as capital till 1952 and still serves as the winter capital of monastic body. And it's the place where the first king Ugyen Wangchuck was coronated on December 17, 1907.
On October 13, 2011, marked an unforgettable wedding of the King of Bhutan, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck to Jetsun Pema which was held at Punakha Dzong.
Like other fortresses it is also used for dual purpose. Half by the monastic body and half for administration. The head office for Punakha district is within the fortress colony.
It also houses the body of Zhabdrung in one of the temples in fortress Machen Lhakhang. And also the important relic Rangjung Karsapani is also found in the fortress and it's the statue of Avalokiteshvara which appeared miraculously from the vertebra of Tsangpa Gyare the founder of Drukpa school in Tibet at the time of cremation. Which was brought by Zhabdrung when he fled from Tibet and came to Bhutan.
Inside Kunre Lhakhang there is an impressive clay statue of Buddha Shakyamuni, Guru Padmasambhava, and Zhabdrung. And towards the left and right wall there are statues of great saints from Tibet and Bhutan. And also you will see the painting of 12 deeds (Dzepa Chunyi) of Buddha.
Open: Every day from 09:00 to 17:00 hrs .
Lunch Break: 13-14 hrs
Dress Code: Formal dress is required
Entry Fee: Nu. 1000 (Roughly USD 12)
Photography: Photography is allowed until courtyard.