Photos from the Road: Punakha Dzong, rice paddies and a Madman

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Photos from the Road: Punakha Dzong, rice paddies and a Madman

rice paddies around Divine Madman temple Bhutan

 

After driving over the 3,000 meters+ Dochula Pass, we twisted and turned our way down into the lower elevations of the Punakha Valley. Here we got a break from the headache-inducing mountain roads by taking a walk through the rice paddies. Summer’s rains have turned the high rice into the brightest shade of green.

 

Our short hike led us to the Chhimi Lhakhang, or Divine Madman Temple. The Divine Madman is an important and colorful character in Bhutan’s history. He is famous for dramatizing his teachings and using outrageous sexual humor. The temple here is also a place of pilgrimage for those seeking fertility. You’ll also notice phallic symbols painted on local houses and buildings which is a testament to his influence to this day.

 

Further up the river valley is the town of Punakha and its magnificent Dzong. The Dzong is a fortified monastery and civic government building, and this one in Punakha is arguably the country’s most beautiful. It was actually the capital of Bhutan for over 300 years. It still serves as the Je Khenpo (the Spiritual head of Bhutan) in the winter months.

 

The Punakha Dzong was really impressive, sitting imposingly at the confluence of two rivers. Both the interior and exterior are worth a closer look.

 

Photos from Punakha Dzong and the walk to Divine Madman Temple:

 

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punakha dzong

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punakha dzong

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punakha dzong

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Stephen Bugno
Stephen Bugno
Stephen Bugno has been traveling the world and writing about it for the better part of 20 years. His articles and essays have appeared in The San Francisco Chronicle, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Seattle Times, and Transitions Abroad magazine. He blogs at Bohemian Traveler and edits the independent travel magazine GoMadNomad.com. He most recently set up a tour company offering authentic, small group tours at Unquote Travel. Follow him on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

3 Comments

  1. Thank you for continuing to show me such fascinating places!

  2. Stephen Bugno says:

    Hi Gezi, Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I love rice paddies, too. I think I’ve been to the terraced ones in Luzon you’re referring too.

  3. Gezi Rehberi says:

    I love rice paddies, the best one I have seen in Luzon Philippines. It was amazing. Nice photos.

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