Information of Paro - Bhutan, Places to visit, Local sightseeing in Paro
The breath taking views of Paro Valley always mesmerize visitors. This famous valley is enriched by rich – culture, scenic beauties and hundred of myths and legends. It boasts for the sole Airport of this Himalayan Kingdom. Paro also home for number of oldest and famous temples and monasteries of Bhutan. Ta Dzong, previously was a watch tower has been converted into National Museum. Paro Chu ( River) which cuts though the valley to make the valley more attractive, fed by the glaciers of Mt. Chomolhari ( 7,300 mt), which is towering with white glory at the northern side of the valley.
Paro has a close cultural connection with Tibet than any other places in Bhutan as the pass on the head of the valley was a throughfare for traders and invaders from Tibet. It is one of the most fertile valleys in Bhutan and produce the maximum volumes of famous red rice. Paro is so beautiful that any one can mistake it with any of the beautiful valleys in Switzerland.
Paro Airport is the only Airport in Bhutan. The Airport looks wonderful from the top of the hills.
Paro weather remains soothing during summer time. Temperature hovers around 10-25 degree this time. But during winter the city becomes very cold and sometimes experiences mild to heavy snowfall. Paro temperature comes down heavily and stays around -6 to 15 degree.
Places to visit / Tourists attractions in Paro
Drukgyel Dzong now mostly in ruins, with a picturesque village nestling below is located around 18 kms away from the town and on the north side of the valley. This is the place from where Bhutanese confront and drive off several Tibetan Armies during the 17th Century. To commemorate the victory under the leadership of Shandrung Ngawang Namgyal over Tibetan army, he built the Dzong in 1646 overlooking toepath from Tibet. This toepath was important for Tibetan traders who used to come all the way from Tibet and by Tibetan invaders also. In 1951 this Dzong almost destroyed by a devastating fire. But the towering outer walls and central keep remain an imposing sight. From the approaching road to Dzong the awesome beauty of Mt. Chomolhari can be seen on a clear day.
Ringpung Dzong is also Paro Dzong and was built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. The “ Fortress of the heap of Jewels” stands on a hill above Paro Township and on the site of an earlier monastery built by Guru Rimpoche ( who preached Buddhism in Bhutan). It is also the administrative centre of the “ Dzongkhag”. The Dzong is one of the finest architectural works in the Kingdom and has a quite formidable history to defend agains Tibetan Invaders. Approaching the Dzong through traditional covered bridge and up a paved stone path running alongside the imposing outer walls to glimpse of the marvelous architectural works and feel the life around it.
Taktsang Monastery (Tiger Nest)
Taktsang Monastery or the “ Tiger Nest” – the most famous monastery in the Himalayan Kingdom is spectacularly located on the face of sheer 900 metre granite cliff above the valley floor and around 10 km from the district town of Paro. It is the place from where the Buddhism in Bhutan started in the 8th Century by Guru Rimpoche. It is believed that anytime during 8th Century, Guru Rimpoche flew on the back of a tigress from eastern Bhutan to this place and meditated in a cave for 3 months. The temple was built around the cave and is hallowed shrine for Bhutanese pilgrims.
Taktsang Monastery includes seven shrines which have been in this sacred place for many centuries. The principal Lhakhang of the present monastic complex dates from 1692. A disastrous fire nearly devastated Taktsang Monastery’s mediaval wall paintings and all inner temples in april 1998. But now it has been fully restored to its former glory.
Taktsang Monastery – the unofficial symbol of Bhutan can be reached by a three hour totally up-hill hike from the parking area of the monastery. On the way to Monastery the awesome view of Himalayan snow capped summits are spectacular. From the view point of Taktsang Monastery, the spectacular view of the monastery embracing on the side of the cliff and Paro valley below are simply breathtaking.
On a ridge just over the Rinpung Dzong a shape like the auspicious symbol of a Conch Shell – Ta Dzong is located. Ta Dzong was built built as a watch tower to protect Rinpung Dzong during the war against Tibetan invaders in 17th Century. Ta meaning “ To See”, in Dzongkha. So the watch tower of a Dzong is always addressed “ Ta Dzong”.
In 1968, National Museum of Bhutan was built from the renovation of the ancient “ Ta Dzong”, under the command of His Majesty, the King Jigme Dorjee Wangchuk, the third hereditary Monarch of this Himalayan Buddhist Kingdom. Suitable galleries were constructed to hold a fascinating collection of art, relics, religious thangkha paintings, Bhutan’s exquisite postage stamps, coins and handicrafts together form a small natural history collection.
Kyichu Lhakhang is one of the oldest monasteries in Bhutan and also one of the two most sacred shrines in Bhutan ( another one is Jambey Lhakhang in Bumthang). It is said that Kyichu Lhakhang is among 108 temples, which were built by the Tibetan King Songsten Gampo in the 7th Century to protect the whole area of Tibet and the Himalays from a demonese which was preventing the spread of Buddhism. In 1968, H.M., Ashi Kesang, the queen mother of Bhutan arranged for a second temple to be built alongside the first one and in the same style.
The natural beauty of Paro valley is embellished by cluster of picturesque farmhouses dotted in the green fields on the hill sides. These farmhouses are generally two or three storied houses appearing handsomely with colourful presentation in the outer walls and intels and traditionally built without usuing a single nail. A visit to the farmhouses gives an impressive glimpses of the life style of farming families.
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