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    Posted August 3, 2014 by
    Punahka, Bhutan
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Travel photo of the day

    More from JuleeK

    Inside Spectacular Punakha Dzong


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     Julee Khoo captured these images while exploring the country of Bhutan, during a trip in September of 2010. The experience definitely made an impression on her and as a travel veteran she has some advice for those interested in visiting the region.

    "First, There's a lot of hiking and walking in Bhutan and most of the country is located above 8,000 feet so you need to be prepared for the altitude. Second, the Bhutanese love to eat chilies...be careful with the food, it may look like a green bean when you pick it out, but it will be a really hot chili when you put it in your mouth!

    "Photo #6 was featured as the travel photo of the day on August 6, 2014
    - taliaday, CNN iReport producer

    Built in 1637, Punakha Dzong (pronounced “zong”) is one of the treasured heritage landmarks in Bhutan and was the location of the King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck’s marriage ceremony in 2011.

    A dzong differs from a monastery in that it serves as both a monastery and as administration for the local government.

    Structurally, a dzong is designed as a fortress; towering exterior walls surround a complex of courtyards, temples, administrative offices and housing for the monks.
    Bhutan has a national program that dictates that all structures incorporate traditional Bhutanese arts into the design and Punakha is a stellar example of this. Strikingly beautiful handcarved and hand decorated woodwork and decorations adorn every façade of the buildings in the dzong. I just marveled at the detail of the handiwork - it is truly stunning!

    Inside one of the buildings, we happened upon a small group of young monks who were creating altar decorations which we found out were being molded from colored butter.
    I had the great fortune to visit Bhutan in 2010. I was so blown away by what I saw in Punakha that I decided to capture pretty much every step I took so I would have a permanent reminder of my visit to this very special place. Image #10 is a compilation of some of the video that I took.
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