The Valley of Rice Bowl and the renowned Taksang Monastery is an hour drive from the Capital Thimphu. It is a most decent developed district in Bhutan with enriched culture bounds. Home to many Bhutan’s oldest monasteries and National Museum also has a route to Tibet. The only airport in the country is also based in Paro with three domestic airport centered in different part of Bhutan.
Paro Pelphug Taksang:
Popularly known as Tiger’s Nest, is a prominent Himalayan Buddhist sacred site and temple complex, perched on the Cliff-side of the upper Paro valley. A temple complex was first built in 1692, around the Taktsang Senge Samdup cave where Guru Padmasambhava is said to have meditated for three years, three months, three weeks, three days and three hours in the 8th century.
Legend narrates, Guru Padmasambhava is said to have flown to the present site from Lhuentsi (one of the Eastern District in Bhutan) riding on the back of a Tiger. Thus the name “Tigers Nest”.
A fire razed the building and destroyed many sacred religious texts & stupas in 1998, however the wonder shrine is renovated to its original grandeur brilliance. Notably the splendid monastery has garnered & congregated many hearts of Bhutanese & Foreigners.
Rinpung Dzong: “Fortress on a Heap of jewel”
In the 15th century local people offered the cliff of Hungrel to Lama Drung Drung Gyal, a descendant of Phajo Drugom Zhigpo. Drung Drung Gyal built a small temple there and later a five storied fortress which was known as Hungrel Dzong.
In the 17th century descendent of Drung Drung Gyal, offered the fortress to Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel in recognition of his religious and temporal authority. In 1644, Zhabdrung laid the foundation of a new Dzong and consequently in 1646 the Dzong was re-consecrated and established as the administrative and monastic Centre of the western region and named Rinpung Dzong.
Today the Rinpung Dzong houses administrative offices which includes the legislative, executive, Judicial and religious Centre for the people of Paro Dzongkhag.
At the top of the hill above Paro Dzong is an old watchtower that was renovated in 1968 to house the National Museum. The unusual round building is said to be in the shape of a conch shell. It was completed in 1656 and was originally the Today it holds a fascinating collection of art, relics, religious paintings, handicrafts, masks, costumes, armour and Bhutan’s exquisite postage stamps. The visit to Ta Dzong will provide and insight into the rich and unique cultural heritage and tradition of Bhutan. (watchtower) of Paro Dzong, which lies undefended below. An underground tunnel is said to lead from the watchtower to the water supply below.
Drugyel Dzong: “Victories Fortress”
The ancient ruin of Drukgyel Dzong, considered as the most beautiful and famous archaeological sites in Bhutan, is situated on a ridge in the upper Paro valley. Since its construction in 1649, Drukgyel Dzong had been served as an important base for defense in the region until 1951 when it was destroyed by fire. Even after the destruction, the ruins of the Dzong continued to be protected as an important monument linking people of Bhutan with the great events that contributed in maintaining sovereignty of the country.
Unlike other Dzongs built by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and his successors, Drukgyel Dzong was served solely for defensive purpose without administrative and religious functions, especially against external threats from the border. The Dzong had housed the best armoury in the country at the time. As the name of the Dzong indicates (Druk is the local name for Bhutan, while Gyel means victory), it is said that it was built to commemorate Bhutanese victory over the combined forces of Tibetan and Mongolian army, which attempted several invasions to the country. Thus, the Dzong was built at the strategic site near the border with Tibet for strengthening defense against future invasions.
The existing ruins of the Dzong are comparatively well preserved. One can without much difficulty understand or distinguish features of the complex. Although most of timber components of the Dzong such as roof truss, door and window frames, and floors and ceilings are almost totally absent, major portion of stone and rammed earth wall structures are still standing. They provide for visitors in understanding ideas and practices for defense in the olden times.
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