beautiful valley of Paro encapsulates within itself a rich culture,
scenic beauty and hundreds of myths and legends. It is home to many of
Bhutan's oldest temples and monasteries, National Museum and country's
only airport. Mount. Chomolhari (7,314m) reigns in white glory at the
northern end of the valley and its glacial water plunge through deep
gorges to form Pa Chhu (Paro river). Paro is also one of the most
fertile valley in the Kingdom producing a bulk of the locally famous
red rice from its terraced fields.
Druk Air, the National
Air Carrier of Bhutan, operates regular flights to / from Paro to
Delhi (India), Kolkatta (India), Gaya (India) and Kathmandu
Paro is well connect to
many cities in Bhutan.
Built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the first spiritual and
temporal ruler of Bhutan, the Dzong houses the monastic body of Paro,
the office of the Dzongda (district administrative head) and Thrimpon
(judge) of Paro district. The approach to the Dzong is through a
traditional covered bridge called Nemi Zam. A walk through the bridge,
over a stone inlaid path, offers a good view of the architectural
wonder of the Dzong as well as life around it. It is also the venue of
Paro Tshechu, held once a year in the spring.
One time watch tower built to defend Rinpung Dozng during inter-valley
wars of the 17th century, since 1967 Ta Dzong is serving as the
National Museum of the country. It holds fascinating collection of
art, relics, religious thangkha paintings and Bhutan's exquisite
postage stamps. The museum circular shape augments its varied
collection displayed over several floors.
This Dzong, with a delightful village nestling at its foot, was built
in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to commemorate his victory over
the Tibetan invaders. Historically and strategically this Dzong
withstood all its glory and was featured in 1914 vide National
Geographic magazine. The glory of Drukgyel Dzong remained even when
its was destroyed by fire in 1951. On a clear day, one can see the
commanding view of Mount. Chomolhari from the village, below the Dzong.
It is one of the oldest and most sacred shrines of the Kingdom dating
back to 7th century (the other is Jambey Lhakahng in Bumthang). The
lhakhang complex is composed of two temples. The first temple was
built by Tibetan King, Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century and in 1968,
H.M. Ashi Kesang, the Queen Mother of Bhutan, built the second temple
in original pattern.
Farm House (traditional village house)
The beauty of Paro valley is embellished by cluster of quaint farm
houses. Bhutanese farm houses are very colorful, decorative and
traditionally built without the use of single nail. All houses follow
the same architectural pattern. A visit to Farm House is very
interesting and offers a good glimpse into the lifestyle of a farmer.
Built in 1525, this town temple was formed by Ngawang Chhogyel, one of
the prince-abbots of Ralung in Tibet and an ancestor of the Shabdrung
To the west of the road is Dungtse Lhakhang, a chorten-like temple.
This unusual building was built in 1433 by the iron bridge builder
Thangtong Gyalpo. It has three floors representing hell, earth and
heaven and the paintings inside are said to be some of the best in
Beyond Dungtse Lhakhang, to the east of the road, the tiny Pana
Lhakhang is quite old and is believed to have been built in the
Ugyen Pelri Palace
Ugyen Pelri Palace is in a secluded wooded compound on the south side
of the river just west of the Dzong. This Palace was built by the Paro
Penlop, Tsering Penjor, in the early 1900s. It is designed after Guru
Rinpoche's celestial paradise, Zangto Pelri, and is one of the most
beautiful examples of Bhutanese architecture.
Located behind Paro Dzong, this small temple is home to a magnificent
statue of Sakyamuni Buddha that was carried all the way from Lhasa and
also houses the protector deity of Paro. Legend has it that the statue
of Sakyamuni was destined for Paro Dzong and merely placed in the
temple for overnight safe keeping. However, when the time came to move
the statue, it proved impossible to lift. As a result, it became a
permanent feature of the lhakhang.
Taktshang Lhakhang (Tiger's Nest)
It is one of the most famous of Bhutan's monasteries, Tiger's nest
Paroperched on the side of a cliff 900m above the Paro valley floor.
It is said that Guru Rinpoche arrived here on the back of a tigress
and meditated at this monastery and hence it is called "Tiger's Nest".
This site has been recognized as a most sacred place and visited by
Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1646 and now visited by all Bhutanese at
least once in their lifetime. On 19 April, 1998, a fire severely
damaged the main structure of building but now this Bhutanese jewel
has been restored to its original splendour.
hh - heritage hotel ; ph -
palace hotel ; bh - boutique hotel ; gh - guest house ; hs - home stay