Punakha appear to be nothing more than a small village, but in a country like Bhutan it is big enough to be a district headquarters. And it was big enough to be country’s capital once. Punakha’s majestic Dzong (dzong: fortress) is the a landmark that is probably twenty times bigger than any other structure in the district. During the travel photography tour to Bhutan in May, we spent a good part of the day (which extended into night as well) photographing this Dzong located next to the confluence of Mo Chu and Pa Chu Rivers. Some photographs here.
The magnificent Punakha Dzong flanked by purple Jacaranda Trees, with Mo Chu River flowing in front of it.
We started our day late in the morning. For the best light to photograph the exteriors of the Dzong, we had to wait till evening. So the focus in the morning hours was on interiors. The moment we entered the dzong, we found this man settled next to the prayer wheel, rotating it slowly and murmuring mantras. He was dedicated to his task and we found him seated there for more than an hour.
Every Dzong typically has two sections, one dedicated to administration and one for the monks. Bhutan has always included Buddhism as part of its culture and administration, which perhaps explains the presence of both entities in one premises. Even when you go through Bhutan’s history, you end up reading as much about Budhism as you would read about political history. Here is a young monk, at Punakha Dzong.
A monk at the doorsteps of a temple in the Dzong premises.
Inside the Dzong.
The Dzong and Mo Chu river, just before sunset.
Women emerge from the temples in the dzong and head home as the sun makes his way down the hill.
Flood-lit Punakha Dzong at the twilight hour
Dzong by night.