|Airport City||Paro Airport,|
|Offical Languages||Dzongkha, Sharchokpa, Nepali, Bumthangkha,|
|Food||Ema Datshi - Stew made of Chillies and Cheese, Red Rice - Staple Food of Bhutan, Jasha Maroo or Maru - Spicy Chicken Stew or Curry|
Autumn : Sep - Nov
Summer : Jun - Aug
Winter : Dec - Feb
Sprint : Mar - May
Rinpung Dzong a fortress-monastery overlooking the Paro valley has a long history. A monastery was first built on the site by Padma Sambhava at the beginning of the tenth century, but it was not until 1644 that Ngawang Namgyal built a larger monastery on the old foundations; for centuries this imposing five-storey building served as an effective defence against numerous invasion attempts by the Tibetans.
Built with stones instead of clay, the Dzong was named Rinpung, meaning "heaps of jewels" but Rinpung and all its treasures were destroyed by the fire in 1907. Only one thangka, known as Thongdel, was saved. The Paro Dzong was rebuilt by the penlop dawa Penjor after the fire. Housed within its walls is a collection of sacred masks and costumes. Some date back several centuries; others were contributed by Dawa Penjor and his successor Penlop Tshering Penjor in recent times.
Bhutan, a Buddhist kingdom on the Himalayas’ eastern edge, is known for its monasteries, fortresses (or dzongs) and dramatic landscapes that range from subtropical plains to steep mountains and valleys. In the High Himalayas, peaks such as 7,326m Jomolhari are popular trekking destinations. Paro Taktsang monastery (also known as Tiger’s Nest) clings to cliffs above the forested Paro Valley.
Bhutan's independence has endured for centuries. It has never been colonized in its history. Situated on the ancient Silk Road between Tibet, the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia, the Bhutanese state developed a distinct national identity based on Buddhism. Headed by a spiritual leader known as the Zhabdrung Rinpoche, the territory comprised many fiefdoms and was governed as a Buddhist theocracy. Following a civil war in the 19th century, the House of Wangchuck reunited the country and established relations with the British Empire. Bhutan fostered a strategic partnership with India during the rise of Chinese communism and has a disputed border with China. In 2008 Bhutan transitioned from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy and held the first election to the National Assembly of Bhutan. The National Assembly is part of the bicameral parliament of the Bhutanese democracy.
The town is the site of Chakhar Lhakhang, a small and unassuming temple which marks the site of the "Iron Palace" of Sindhu Raja, the Indian monarch who is believed to have first invited Guru Rinpoche to Bhutan in 746.The current building is said to have been constructed by Tertön Dorje Lingpa in the 14th century.
According to the Jakar foundation myth, a roosting white bird signaled the proper and auspicious location to found a monastery around 1549. The settlement thus earned the moniker Jakar, meaning "white bird."
There are many significant Buddhist sacred sites nearby the town, such as Kurjey Lhakhang, which holds a body print of Guru Rinpoche; Jambey Lhakhang, one of the 108 monasteries that in mythology were miraculously constructed by King Songten Gampo in one night; and Tamsshing Lhakhag established by Tertön Padma Lingpa (1450–1521). In addition, one of the country's largest monastic colleges, Lhodrak Kharchhu Monastery, overlooks Jakar
Punakha is the administrative centre of Punakha dzongkhag, one of the 20 districts of Bhutan. Punakha was the capital of Bhutan and the seat of government until 1955, when the capital was moved to Thimphu. It is about 72 km away from Thimphu and it takes about 3 hours by car from the capital Thimphu. Unlike Thimphu it is quite warm in winter and hot in summer. It is located at an elevation of 1,200 metres above sea level and rice is grown as the main crop along the river valleys of two main rivers of Bhutan, the Pho Chu and Mo Chu. Dzongkha is widely spoken in this district.
Punakha valley is famous in Bhutan for rice farming. Both red and white rice are grown along the river valley of Pho and Mo Chu, two of the most prominent rivers in Bhutan. Ritsha (meaning at the base of a hill) is a typical village in Punakha. The village houses are made of pounded mud with stone foundations. Each house is only two storeys high. Surrounding the houses are the gardens and the rice fields. The gardens also usually have fruit bearing plants like oranges and papaya among the organic vegetables. The village is 1km away from Punakha-Gasa high-way and currently the villagers are engaged in constructing the 1km farm road. In the recent years, the farming work is mechanized and power-tillers instead of bullocks are used to plough the fields and villagers have become relatively prosperous. This is a model rice growing village in western Bhutan.
Chökhor Raptse Dzong at Trongsa which was built in 1644, used to be the seat of power of the Wangchuck dynasty before it became rulers of Bhutan in 1907. Traditionally the King of Bhutan first becomes the Trongsa Penlop (governor) before being named Crown Prince and eventually King. Built on a mountain spur high above the gorges of the Mangde Chhu, the dzong controlled east-west trade for centuries. The only road connecting eastern and western Bhutan (the precursor to the modern Lateral Road), passed through the courtyard of the dzong. At the command of the penlop the massive doors could be shut, dividing the country in two.
Higher yet on the mountainside is a watchtower, called "Ta Dzong"(watch tower), to guard the dzong from enemies.
The town shares its name with the dzong built in 1638 that dominates the district. The name is said to have been given by Ngawang Namgyal, the 1st Zhabdrung Rinpoche, who was searching for the best location for a dzong to prevent incursions from the south. At the chosen spot, the Zhabdrung encountered a boy named Wangdi playing beside the river and hence named the dzong "Wangdi's Palace".
Wangdi Phodrang Dzong burnt down in the afternoon of 24 June 2012. However, the dzong was being renovated at the time, so most of the historical relics had already been put into storage and were saved from destruction. Shortly after the fire, more than 1000 Japanese sympathizers donated an equivalent of over US$134,500 to the Wangdue Phodrang Reconstruction Fund. Other donations have also arrived, but reconstruction is still underway as of 2014.
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