Paro

Paro is a town and seat of Paro District, in the Paro Valley of Bhutan. It is a historic town with many sacred sites and historical buildings scattered throughout the area. It is also home to Paro Airport, Bhutan’s sole international airport. Along the main street, there is a complex of traditional architecture with richly decorated buildings housing small shops, institutions and restaurants. The Dungtse Lhakhang is a 15th-century temple near the new bridge, and the Ugyen Perli Palace is visible through the fence. Members of the royal family lodge in the palace when passing. Nearby is the old bridge by the Rinpung Dzong. Notable hotels include the Olathang Hotel built in an ornate style.

History: Rinpung Dzong a fortress-monastery overlooking the Paro valley has a long history. A monastery was first built on the site by Padma Sambhava at the beginning of the tenth century, but it was not until 1644 that Ngawang Namgyal built a larger monastery on the old foundations; for centuries this imposing five-storey building served as an effective defence against numerous invasion attempts by the Tibetans.

Built with stones instead of clay, the Dzong was named Rinpung, meaning “heaps of jewels” but Rinpung and all its treasures were destroyed by the fire in 1907. Only one thangka, known as Thongdel, was saved. The Paro Dzong was rebuilt by the Penlop Dawa Penjor after the fire. Housed within its walls is a collection of sacred masks and costumes. Some date back several centuries; others were contributed by Dawa Penjor and his successor Penlop Tshering Penjor in recent times.

On the hill above the Dzong stands an ancient watchtower called Ta Dzong which since 1967, has been the National Museum of Bhutan. Across a medieval bridge below the Dzong stands the Ugyen Pelri Palace, a royal residence constructed by Penlop Tshering Penjor.

*(All the above information are from Wikipedia.)

Transport:

Airport: Paro has the only international airport in Bhutan.

Road: The artery road connects the major cities across the nation that mostly runs parallel to the rivers. Paro is connected to major cities of Thimphu, Punakha, Wangdue Phodrang, Chukha and Phuentsholing.

Local: For local transportation within the city and around there are buses, taxis and hired vehicles from various tour operators and hotels.

Tourist Interest:

Paro Dzong or the Rinpung Dzong: Rinpung Dzong is a large dzong – Buddhist monastery and fortress – of the Drukpa Lineage of the Kagyu school in Paro District, Bhutan. It houses the district Monastic Body and government administrative offices of Paro Dzongkhag. It is listed as a tentative site in Bhutan’s Tentative List for UNESCO inclusion.

Ta Dzong or the National Museum: National Museum of Bhutan is a cultural museum in the town of Paro in western Bhutan. Established in 1968, in the renovated ancient Ta-dzong building, above Rinpung Dzong under the command of His Majesty, the King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, the third hereditary Monarch of Bhutan.

Taktshang Monastery or the Tiger’s Nest: Paro Taktsang also known as the Taktsang Palphug Monastery and the Tiger’s Nest is a prominent Himalayan Buddhist sacred site and the temple complex is located in the cliffside of the upper Paro valley in Bhutan.

Drukgyel Dzong: Drukgyel Dzong was a fortress and Buddhist monastery, now in ruins, located in the upper part of the Paro District, Bhutan. The dzong was probably built by Tenzin Drukdra in 1649 at the behest of Ngawang Namgyal, Zhabdrung Rinpoche, to commemorate the victory over an invasion from Tibet.

Kyichu Lhakhang: Kyichu Lhakhang, (also known as Kyerchu Temple or Lho Kyerchu) is an important Himalayan Buddhist temple situated in Lango Gewog of Paro District in Bhutan.

The other places of interest in Paro are the Archery Ground, the Paro weekend market, Druk Choeding, Dungtse Lhakhang, Ugyen Guru Lhakhang and more.

Hotels: There are many hotels in Thimphu. Some of which offers the facility of online booking while one can also get rooms as a walk-in customer. The guides and the drivers come to great help while looking for hotels. During the off-season, the rates can also be negotiated.

Read my experience in Paro.

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