Day in Punakha

Punakha, Bhutan

In the morning head to Khasum Yuley Namgay Chorten before walking down to Punakha Dzong. In the afternoon take a walk across the rice paddies to Chimmi Lhakhang, the fertility temple.

Khamsan Yuley Namgay Chorten Walk, Punakha Dzong and Chimmi Lhakhang. We have a full day for further exploration of the scenic Punakha Valley, which at 1,200m is low enough to allow bananas and oranges to grow. This morning we walk up through whitewashed homesteads and farmland to Khamsum Yuley Namgay Chorten, a shrine recently built by the royal family (the chorten can be clearly spotted from our breakfast table).This ornate and elaborate structure has a rainbow of Guru Rinpoche images and superb views. Heading down along the riverside, the massive architectural edifice of the 17th-century Punakha Dzong soon looms into view. The fortress-monastery was built in 1637 by Shabdung Nawang Namgyal in a commanding position at the confluence of the Po Chhu and Mo Chhu (Father and Mother rivers). It once served as the seat of the Kingdom's government and is now the winter home of Je Khempo, the head abbot of Bhutan, along with a retinue of 1,000 monks. In the afternoon a short walk across rice paddies takes us to Chimmi Lhakhang, a fertility temple dedicated to Drukpa Kuenley, a Tibetan Buddhist saint known popularly as the Divine Madman. The temple sits atop a picturesque hill surrounded by rice fields. Drukpa Kuenley built a chorten on the site in the 14th century, and it has long been a pilgrimage site for couples hoping to start a family

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