Wangduephodrang Tshechu is an annual festival introduced by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal after the Dzong was completed. As per history, the dzong which served as the administrative centre got constructed in 1639 by the disciplined effort of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal near Puna Tsang Chu. To celebrate this occasion, a 3 day festival was organized which is majorly attended by the natives of Thimphu and Punakha.
One of the most celebrated activities on this festival is Raksha Mangcham which is also named as the dance of the ox. Huge gathering assembles to see the beautiful act which concludes with the display of the Guru Tshengye Thongdrol where every onlooker fetch blessings and wash away their sins.
Highlights: sight of Guru Tshengye Thongdrol Festival time: In the month of June
Starting from Punakha, Samtengang Winter Trek is a short and considerably simple and easy trek to Wangduephodrang Dzongkhag with average altitude rising not more than 1900 meters. The climate is excellent and due to low altitude preserves warmer climate which is pleasant and soothing. The trekking trail is devoid of uncomfortable steeps and heights making the trail quite smooth for the amateur hikers.
The trail passes through rhododendron forest which is a delight to see especially in monsoon times. The region also posses dense vegetation with oak and maple trees and also the longest foot bridge of Bhutan. Villages like Sha and Chungsakha also falls on this trail. It is approximately 54 km in length.
Highlights: Sha viilage and lifestyle of Bhutanese people based there. Duration: 3 days trekking tour. Location: Near Punakha, Bhutan Best Season: March - April, October to November. However due to low altitude it can be visited in winter too.
It is one of the largest Monastries in western Bhutan. Perched on top a hill and overlooking the stunning Phobjikha Valley, the Monastery of Gangteng Gompa was built in 1613 by Gyalse Pema Thinlay. He is considered the reincarnation of renowned Pema Lingpa. Villages of Hermits surround the Monastery.
The place is one of the main centers of Nyingmapa School where Buddhism is being taught. The history of the Monastery traces back to 17th century during the period of Pema Lingpa who was a treasure finder. Many of his prophecies are still alive at the monastery.
Highlights: Techu, a traditional Mask dance is hosted in the monastery during September and early October. It is worth to visit the place at the season and witness beautiful dance performances. Also, Phobjikha Valley is native to many Blacked neck cranes that migrate there during November to roost. Location: Wangdue Best Season: September to November