Places of Interest
Paro ValleyGenerally visitors enter the Kingdom at Paro by the National Airline, Druk Air. This beautiful valley, if ever a place exists, here nature and man consulted to create their dearest image, it must be the valley of Paro. Mt. Chomolhari 7320m reigns in white glory at the northern end of the valley and its glacial waters plunge through deep gorges to form the Pa-chu (Paro River). Paro is one of the most fertile valleys in the kingdom producing a bulk of the famous red rice from its terraced fields home to some of Bhutan’s oldest temples & monasteries.
Drugyal Dzongwhich means victorious fortress was built in 1647 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel to commemorate his victory over the Tibetan invaders, led by Mingolian warlord, Gushri Khan in 1644. Strategically built over the only passage into Paro valley, the dzong helped to repel numerous invasions all through the course of Bhutanese history. It so impressed early visitors that in 1914 the dzong featured on the cover of the National Geographic magazine. The dzong was gutted by an accidental fire in 1951. The ruins, as still attract tourists.
Taktsang Monasteryliterally means the Tiger’s den. This temple clings precariously to a granite cliff 800m above the Paro valley. Legend has it that the great Guru Padmasambhava flew to this spot on back of a tigress and meditated in a cave during the 8th century. The temple was built around the cave and is a hallowed shrine for Bhutanese Pilgrims. A terrible fire in April 1998 destroyed Taktsang’s medieval wall paintings and all inner temples. A new construction has already begun by the royal Government.
Rinpung Dzongmeaning the fortress on a heap of Jewels was built during the time of Shabdrung in 1946. The approach to the dzong is through a traditional covered bridge. A walk to the dzong offers a good view of the architectural wonder of the dzong as well as life around it. The dzong now houses the Paro monastic school and the office of the civil administration. It is also the venue of the great Paro Tshechu (festival) held once a year in spring.
looking down upon the Rinpung dzong was built in 1651 as a watch tower. The Ta Dzong is round more like parts of a European castle. Since 1967 the dzong was re-established as the national museum and holds fascinating collections of arts, relics and religious thankha paintings.
Farm HouseThe beauty of Paro valley is embellished by cluster of quaint farm houses. Bhutanese houses are very colourful and traditionally built without the use of a signal nail. The house looks very big from outside but is quite simple inside. Its normally three storeys. The ground floor is always used for cattle while the attic is used to store hay. The families live in the middle floor. The best room is always kept for the family chapel. A visit to a farm house is very interesting and offers a good glimpse into the lifestyle of a farmer.
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