Wangdiphodrang (known colloquially as Wangdi), located at 1310m, is about half an hour’s drive from Punakha and is the easternmost district of western Bhutan. Wangdi Dzong was sadly very badly damaged in a fierce fire that broke out in 2012 and renovation will be ongoing for many years to come. The inhabitants of the old town have also recently been relocated to a new spot further down the valley and Wangdi itself now holds little of interest for visitors.
Wangdi Dzong. The fortress commanded a strategic view of the routes from east to west and north to south. Built by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel in 1638, it sat atop a high ridge between the Puna Tshang Chu and Dang Chu. The site was chosen for its command over the valleys below and the site played an important part in times of civil war and conflicts with the Tibetans. The cacti that cover the hillside below the dzong were purposely planted long ago to discourage invaders from climbing the slope to the fortress. Legends say that when a site for the dzong was being researched, four ravens were seen flying away in four directions from this place. This was interpreted as an auspicious sign, as a representation of the spread of Buddhism to all four directions of the compass – and hence this site was chosen for the dzong. The dzong has a complex shape consisting of three separate structures which follow the contour of the hill.