Punakha Dzong houses Bhutan’s most sacred relic Rangjung Kharsapani “a self-created image of the Bodhisattva of compassion. As per the historical accounts, Tibetan forces invaded the valley to seize the relic but Bhutanese “pazaps” (local militia men) led by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel successfully defended the relic and emerged victorious.
To commemorate the victory, Zhabdrung introduced the Punakha Drubchen. The Drubchen is celebrated as an annual festival. Visitors from the Gasa and Laya join the locals in Punakha to celebrate the festival. The highlight of the Drubchen features a reenactment of the 17th century battle scene to honor Zhabdrung and the great men. Subsequently Punakha Tsechu was also introduced to preserve and promote Buddhism. The Punakha Drubchen and Tsechu is celebrated in the second lunar month annually.