Punakha is located in the western part of Bhutan is the winter home of the Je Khenpo, the Chief Abbot of Bhutan. Punakha has been of critical importance since the time of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel in 17th century.
Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal is known as the unifier of Bhutan as a nation state and he was the one who gave Bhutan and its people the distinct cultural identity that identified Bhutan from the rest of the world.
During 17th century Bhutan was invaded several times by Tibetan forces seeking to seize a very precious relic, the Ranjung Kharsapani. Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal led the Bhutanese to victory over the Tibetans and to commemorate the triumph he introduced the Punakha Drubchen. Since then Punakha Drubchen (also known as Puna Drubchen) became the annual festival of Punakha.
The Punakha Drubchen is a unique festival because it hosts a dramatic recreation of the scene from the 17th century battle with Tibetan army. The ‘pazaps’ or local militia, dress in traditional battle gear re-enact the ancient battle scene. This reenactment harkens back to the time when in the absence of a standing army, men from the eight Tshogchens or great village blocks of Thimphu came forward and managed to expel the invading forces from the country. Their victory ushered in a period of newfound internal peace and stability.
In 2005, another festival known as Punakha Tshechu was introduced by the 70th Je Khenpo, Trulku Jigme Choedra, and the then Home Minister, Jigme Yoedzer Thinley. The Tshechu was introduced after requests made by Punakha District Administration and local people to host a Tshechu to better preserve Buddhist teachings and keep alive the noble deeds of Zhabdrung Rinpoche.
These two festivals not only play an important role in preserving Bhutan’s rich culture and traditions but also provide devout Buddhists an opportunity for pilgrimage. They reflect the richness of the Bhutanese cultural heritage and are very special in the eyes and hearts of both Bhutanese and tourists who visit Bhutan.
Green Mandala Tours is a licensed and registered tour operator in Bhutan. We pride ourselves in providing all kinds of customized tour services in Bhutan from simple cultural tours to organizing the grueling month-long Snowmen Trek, considered by many as the toughest trek in the world.
The founder of the company is Tashi Dorji (Mr), a former newspaper journalist who worked in four newspapers and served as editor in three of them. An ardent traveller himself, Tashi Dorji always gives his personal touch to all groups of tourists and takes personal interest in making each and every tourist enjoy Bhutan to the fullest.
We believe every tourist visiting Bhutan is on a-once-in-a-lifetime trip and we try our best to make it as much memorable as we can. We are more than eager to organize exclusive and luxurious trips and we take it as a challenge to meet each and every wish of our guests.
We customize travel plans meticulously for single, couple, as well as group travellers and we take delight in organizing personal and special requests and wishes like building up a romantic atmosphere for a partner to make marriage proposals. When the groom is on his knees, we ensure the bride says yes! We also organize marriage parties and any other festivity on request.
We organize cultural tours and trekking expeditions that could be easy, medium or tough. We organize adventure and sports, spiritual and meditative retreats, and special family packages and romantic honeymoon jaunts are our expertise. We also specialize in offering customized services according to the wish of our guests.
All our guides are professional and licensed guides who speak fluent English and are trained Bhutan experts. We also offer guides who speak other foreign languages including Japanese, Chinese, French and other languages on demand.
logo-final-newGreen Mandala Tours is a reputed Tour Operator and Travel Agency in Bhutan licensed under the Tourism Council of Bhutan which is the apex government body dealing with tourism and the company is also affiliated with the Association of Bhutanese Tour Operators (ABTO).
At Green Mandala Tours, we believe every guest should end his day in Bhutan with a smile and we take pride in making each and every day an experience of a lifetime in the country where happiness is valued more than money.