Ranked 2 of 20 sightseeing in Paro

 “Land of the Peaceful Dragon”, ‘The Last Shangri-La’ and ‘The Hidden Paradise’ are the names by which Bhutan is referred. They are so attributed because of the natural scenic beauty and mesmerizing sights which are dotted by unassuming little towns and settlements which balance themselves on towering Himalayan edges. The charming small town of Paro, lies on the banks of the river of Pa Chhu, two kilometres away from the Paro airport.

History

Across the Pa chhu is the Paro Dzong the construction of which began in 1644 on the order of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. The Dzong is also known as Paro Rinpung Dzong – “the fortress of the heap of jewels”.

The Dzong was constructed on the foundation of a monastery built by Guru Riponche. It survived a massive earthquake in 1897 and was ravaged and destroyed by fire in 1906. One can catch glimpses of this majestic piece of architectural masterpiece throughout the valley. Undoubtedly it is a high point of Bhutanese architecture.

It was formerly the meeting hall for the National Assembly and now, like most Dzongs, houses both the monastic body and district government offices, including the local courts. It’s worth a visit for its stunning architecture and views. It also houses fourteen shrines and chapel within its premises

The Dzong is built on a steep hillside, and the front courtyard of the administrative section is six metres higher than the courtyard of the monastic portion. The richly carved wood, painted in gold, black and ochre’s, and the towering whitewashed walls exemplify power and wealth. The monastic quarters and their classrooms are also housed here. The positive vibrations experienced when you visit this area are from the murals which are a treat to watch and mesmerizing in their splendour. You can treat yourselves to some incredible views from the far windows which are majestic

Reason to visit

The first day of the spring Paro Tsechu is held in this courtyard, which fills to bursting point. This festival will be celebrated between 7th April 2017 to 11th April 2017 during this period a series of stylized mask dance rituals are performed by the monks. These dances are performed outside the Dzong where there is a stone paved ground. A huge painted or embroidered religious picture of Guru Rinpoche, more than 18 square meters, is unfurled shortly after dawn on the final day of the Tsechu.

Entry Guidlines

The dzong courtyard is open daily, but on weekends the offices are deserted and most chapels are closed. Tourists from India can enter by producing their Indian ID by which the tickets for entry carry a concession given to citizens of SAARC nations. No hassles of converting currencies as Indian currency is accepted in Bhutan in addition to the local currency where 1Nu is equal to Re.1.00INR

Where to eat

Buddhism has strict rules regarding slaughter of animals, meaning many people are vegetarian. The other great influence comes from Tibet and traditional dishes in Tibet, like momos and fried rice are very common in Bhutan. Plenty of restaurants serve Indian, continental and Chinese cuisine and are spread across Paro.

Tourism is fairly organized and offers attractive packages which could be booked online.


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Photos of Rinpung Dzong

Rinpung Dzong, Paro

Photo by

Thejasvi Bhat

Rinpung Dzong, Paro
Rinpung Dzong, Paro

Photo by

Thejasvi Bhat

Rinpung Dzong, Paro
Rinpung Dzong, Paro

Photo by

Thejasvi Bhat

Rinpung Dzong, Paro
Rinpung Dzong, Paro

Photo by

Thejasvi Bhat

Rinpung Dzong, Paro