The Punakha Dzhong or the PungtangDechenPhortang Dzhong is locaated at the confluence of the Mo Chhu and the Po Chhu River, combine to form the Puna Tsang Chu which in turn is a tributary of the mighty Brahmaputra River. The Dzhong was constructed by SahbdrungNgwangNamgyalWangchuck in 1638 on the exact spot as prophesized by the Guru Rinpoche some 800 years ago. According to the prophecy of Guru Rinpoche “ a person named Namgyal will arrive at a hill that looks like an elephant”. And lo behold! ShabdungNgawandNamgyal found that the peak of the hill was in the shape of an elephant’s trunk and built the Dzhong at that very spot. Another legend associated with the Dzhong is that of ZowePalep, the architect of the Dzongreceived vision of the Dzhong in his sleep. This vision got imprinted in the architects mind and enabled him to construct the Dzhong without putting his plans to paper.
The Punakha Dzhong is the second largest and the second oldest Dzhong in Bhutan. The Dzhong is home to some to of the most sacred relics of the DrukaKagyu School of Buddhism, it is also home to the sacred mortal remains of ShabdrunNagawangNamgyal and Trenton PemaLingpa the great treasure discoverer of Bhutan. The Punakha Dzhong has also served as the ofcapital Bhutan till 1955 before the capital was moved to Thimphu. The Dzhong is still the winter residence of the Je Khempo( chief abbot) and the central monastic body.
The Punakha Dzhong plays host to the annual PunakhaTheschu Festival which is very popular with the locals and tourists alike.