The Punakha Dzong also known as “Pungthang Dewai Chenpai Phodrang” meaning “the palace of Great Happiness” was completed in 1638, after a year of construction by a Great Buddhist Master, Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel. The 180 meters long and 72 meters wide, the historic fortress is situated between the Pho-chhu (Male River) and Mo-chhu (Female River), whereby the end of the Dzong, the two river conjoins to become Puna-Tsang Chhu.
History reveals that the construction of this dzong was foretold by Guru Padmasambhava. Later in 16th century Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal with Zowo (Local Architect) Palep conceived the design of the dzong in his dream as similar to Zangtopelri, the Heaven Abode of Guru Rimpoche maintaining traditional architecture of Bhutan and was never committed to paper.
Today it stands as the winter residence for the Central Monk body and Administrative Center of the Punakha District.
While on your visit to the dzong, one must cross the Cantilever Bridge across the Mo-chhu, built with distinct architectural design of Bhutan.