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Buddhist monks and novices watching a rehearsal for punakha tsechu (dance festival) in one inner courtyard at punakha dzong in bhutan
The Punakha Dzong was known in ancient times as the Druk Pungthang Dechhen Phrodang or “the palace of great happiness”. It is the second dzong to be built in Bhutan and was the seat of government when Punakha was the capital of Bhutan. Today, the dzong is the winter home for the clergy.
The dzong’s central tower, the utse, is six storeys high. The history of Punakha Dzong is characterised by damage from numerous fires, floods and earthquakes. Major renovations took place after the glacial floods of 1994 which damaged parts of the exterior of the dzong.
An impressive prayer hall has also been built after the latest fires in 1986.