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Punakha Dzong and Monastery
Punakha dzong reconstructed
Straddling the confluence of the snow-fed Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu rivers in Punakha the five gilded pinnacles of the Dewachenpoi Phodrang glisten in the sunlight, more brilliant than ever. After centuries of natural and man-caused dilapidation this magnificent monument that represents one of the most memorable landmarks in Bhutanese history has been restored to its former glory on the personal initiative of the fourth Druk Gyalpo, His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck.

The work on the Punakha Dzong epitomises the highest quality of the 13 crafts of the zorig chusum tradition. Apart from the traditional Bhutanese woodwork, masonry, metalwork, and paintings on the colossal main structures, the new treasures that have enriched the numerous lhakhangs in the dzong include more than 200 sacred images intricately crafted out of the five menjim (precious substances) and modern elements that include copper, brass, and other metals.

Punakha Dzong
Over the centuries, the dzong has been repeatedly challenged by man and nature. It was damaged by fires in 1780, 1789, 1802, 1831, 1849, and in 1986. There was a massive earthquake in 1897 and a devastating flash flood in 1994 when the Dzongchhung, which houses the images of the Jhou (Lord Buddha) and Dupthob Nagi Rinchhen (Vanaratna), was nearly washed away.

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Mo Chhu Bazam - mix of medieval traditional design and modern technology
Features wooden bridge, unsupported span, 55 m long, prototype of hybride construction, invisible steel elements, crossing Mo Chhu, concrete foundation protected by thousands of boulders and concrete blocks placed in the riverbed
engineering
company:
Walt + Galmarini AG (Switzerland)
contractor:
fund rising:
Pro Bhutan (Germany)
Pro Bhutan (Germany)
project of the Government of Bhutan
initiated by
inaugurated by
Prime Minister Lyonpo Sangay Ngedup (2000)
Prime Minister Jigmi Y Thinley (May 2008)
information Pro Bhutan (Germany) Pro Bhutan (external link)

The Punakha Dzong bazam, built in the 17th century, was washed away by a ravaging flood in 1958. The bazam belongs to the Punakha Dzong, which is the winter residence of his Holiness Je Khenpo and the 500 monks of his monk body. The Punakha Dzong bazam was a wooden roofed cantilever bridge in traditional Bhutanese architecture. From 1958 up to 2008 a simple steel cable bridge was leading to the Dzong. In 2008 the Punakha Dzong bazam was rebuilt by "Pro Bhutan", a german non-profit and humanitarian NGO. The reconstruction of the bazam was started in 2006 and completed by "Pro Bhutan" in May 2008.

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Punakha Dzong: Mo Chhu Bazam
(Photo Gallery in the german section of RAOnline)

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