Chencho Dema| Punakha 

Residents in Punakha can walk in casual dress on the bazam over Mochhu, adjacent to the dzong, after the Dzongkhag Tshogdu decided to change its previous decision mandating proper formal attire. 

However, people have to be in formal dress to enter the dzong compound.    

The second Local Government leaders’ DT decision requiring people to wear formal attire when crossing the Bazam was never implemented according to Talo Gup Rinchen Wangchuk. 

“The issue is not given importance despite the DT resolution. It has not been implemented or monitored,” he said.  

Although there was much discussion on the matter in the past, Senior Punakha Dzongrab Ugyen Tshering said the relevant authorities were unable to implement it. 

“We have to consider the welfare and problems of those using the bridge. Since the bridge was and still is the traditional path, people from Dzomi and Shengana gewogs use the bridge for shopping and commerce,” he said.

He said that the alternate route is along the Changyuel Bridge, which is far and inconvenient for them because not many taxis ply that way. 

Shengana Gup Samten Phuntsho said that authorities must consider the comforts of those who have been using the bridge for extended periods of time.

After careful consideration, it was determined that casual clothing will be permitted on the bridge.

A few of the gups were not in favour of the decision. However, the majority supported the resolution in a show of hands. 

Some of the residents, Kuensel interviewed said that the authorities should rethink their decision because the dzong is a sacred monument and that it should be respected. 

“You cannot simply cross the bridge or hang around the dzong in casual clothing. We must serve as an example to visitors and safeguard our culture,” a Punakha resident, Namgay said. 

Punakha Dzong sits at the confluence of the Mochhu and Phochhu Rivers. To get to the dzong, one needs to cross the wooden roofed cantilever bridge in traditional Bhutanese architecture rebuilt in 2008 after severe floods swept away the original bridge built in the 17th century.

From 1958 up to 2008 a simple steel cable bridge was leading to the dzong.

The construction of the bridge began in mid-2006.