The Punakha Dzong (the palace of great happiness or bliss), is the administrative centre of Punakha District in Punakha, Bhutan. The dzong was constructed by Ngawang Namgyal, in 1637–38. It is the second oldest and second largest dzong in Bhutan and one of its most majestic structures. The dzong houses the sacred relics of the southern Drukpa Lineage of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism, including the Rangjung Kasarpani and the sacred remains of Ngawang Namgyal and the tertoen Pema Lingpa.
The Dzong is located at the confluence of the Pho Chhu (father) and Mo Chhu (mother) rivers in the Punakha–Wangdue valley. The source of the Mo chu river is in the northern hills of Ligshi and Laya in Bhutan, and in Tibet. The Pho Chu River is fed by glaciers in the Lunana region of the Punakha valley. After the confluence of these two rivers, the main river is known as Puna Tsang chu.
In view of the healthy climate in the region, Punakha is the winter capital of Bhutan. The head of the clergy of Bhutan with his entourage of monks spend the winter in this dzong. Jacaranda trees grow around the dzong, blooming with mauve flowers in the spring. Punakha is also the center of Bhutan’s longest suspension bridge (Punakha Suspension Bridge) and is about 7.5 km (4.5 miles) by car to Chimi Lhakhang, the Divine Madman’s fertility temple.