Wangdue Phodrang Dzong is 21km from Punakha. Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel met a young boy named Wangdi playing in the sand by the Punak Chhu and named the new dzong Wangdi Phodrang (Wangdi's Palace) which was later changed to Wangdue. The dzong is a dramatic example of Bhutanese architecture. The structure follows the contours of a ridge high over the river. The cacti on the slope were planted to prevent invaders from climbing to the dzong. The dzong was founded in 1638 by the Shabdrung and was Bhutan's second capital until Trongsa was founded in1644. The penlop of Wangdue Phodrang was the third most powerful ruler in the country. The dzong controlled the routes to Trongsa, Punakha, Dagana, and Thimpu. The sole entrance to the dzong is flanked by large prayer wheels. The Guru Tshengy Thondrol, depicting Guru Rimpoche is unfurled on the final day of the autumn tsechu festival. In the main prayer hall there are statues of Sakyamuni, Guru Rimpoche, and the Shabdrung. The dzong was repaired after a fire in 1837 and an earthquake in 1897.
Really appreciate YANA's professional organization of the entire trip. Could not imagine how a trekking trip could such be well organized - more or less like a 5-star hotel with the only difference of we were at more than 3,000 above sea level. Special thanks to Yeshey and the chef who had given tons of assistance when I was descending due to attitude sickness. - Simon Liu, Hong Kong