About Punap Ugyen Wangchuk
About Punap Ugyen Wangchuk
born in 1972, i hail from punakha, a place that holds deep significance in my heart. That’s why I am Punap Ugyen Wangchuk.
As he looks back on his early childhood, Ugyen recalls his home feeling small and crowded and filled with family – his five brothers and two sisters, and a few uncles as occasional visitors. As was typical, the four room house was built on two levels – the lower level in stone and mud dedicated to livestock, and the upper level in ekra work where the family lived. The pigs were housed indoors while the cows were tied up outside, harnessed to hooks embedded in the walls. Part of the lower floor was also used for grain, dry meat and dry vegetable storage.
The wide deck on the upper level at the entry of the home is Ugyen’s fondest memory, where he remembered life truly being lived. A modest open space with wooden planks and a railing, it was the centre of activity in the day. He recounts memories of his mother working on the deck – drying produce, making cheese, eating doma, of him playing with his siblings and being shooed away by the adults, of his father sharing a chaang with a visitor in the evening, and of the dogs sleeping lazily in the sun. ReadMore
I was raised in Thambji, a remote village situated in Punakha, Bhutan. For thirteen years, I served as a monk within the Central Monastic Body, residing in esteemed monasteries such as Dodedrak, Dechenphodrang, and Punakha, before finally joining the Tango Buddhist College. In pursuit of academic enrichment, I attended Kauai Community College in Hawaii in 2000, where I focused on English and Photography. The following year, I seized an opportunity to further enhance my language skills and gain foundational knowledge in media during a course in California, USA.
Presently, I am a freelance photographer and a licensed tour guide. Driven by my passion for sustainable tourism, I took the initiative to establish the Wangdue Eco-Lodge, the first of its kind in Bhutan. Fascinated by Bhutan’s distinct culture and our nation’s remarkable journey towards rapid economic growth, I have devoted my life to documenting the essence of authentic Bhutanese experiences. Through my work, I aspire to contribute to a meaningful archive of our invaluable traditions and heritage.
Among my notable accomplishments are the publication of the “Authentic Bhutanese Cookbook” featuring my photography, and my ongoing project to compile a comprehensive photography book on Bhutan. My ultimate dream is to aid in the development of my local community, striving to transform it into a sustainable and harmonious village that exemplifies happiness.