Paro Things to Do

  • Things to Do
    by anilpradhanshillong
  • Things to Do
    by anilpradhanshillong
  • Things to Do
    by anilpradhanshillong

Most Recent Things to Do in Paro

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    03- Rinpung Dzong or Paro Dzong

    by anilpradhanshillong Written Sep 8, 2013
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    Rinpung Dzong or ‘fortress on the heap of jewels’ was constructed by Gyelchok, the brother of Gyelzom and the son of Phajo Drugom Shigpo, the founder of the Drukpa Kagyupa school in Bhutan. This was in the 15th. century. His descendants, in later years, controlled most of Paro valley. As you exit Paro airport, this fort is to your right atop a small hill with a quaint cantilevered covered bridge running over the stream that separates it from the main road.

    In 1645, this small fort was handed over to Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel who converted it to a larger fortress and consecrated it the following year. It burnt down completely in 1915 but Paro Penlop (Governor), Dawa Penjor go it rebuilt almost immediately. Today, the place is the administrative seat of Paro district. It also houses a Buddhist monks.

    A visit to this dzong is a must if only to view the marvelous woodwork in the central tower. In the second courtyard are two superb ‘mandalas’ representing two different philosophies – the ‘Kalacakra’ or the ‘wheel of time’ and the ‘Abhidharmakosha’, a text written by Vasubandhu, the 5th. century Indian scholar.

    First Written: Sep. 9, 2013

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    02-Kyichu Lhakhang – The Hidden Gem in Paro

    by anilpradhanshillong Written Sep 8, 2013
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    Kyichu Lhakhang is set upon a small hill in the Paro valley. Composed of two temples, the first one was built by Songtsen Gampo, the Buddhist Tibetan king sometime in the 7th. Century.
    Legend has it that a giant demoness which lay across the larger part of Tibet and the Himalayan area was preventing the spread of Buddhism. King Songtsen Gampo built a number of temples over the body parts of the demoness with Kyichu Lhakhang on her left foot.

    In 1839, Sherab Gyeltsen, the religious head, restored the temple to its former glory. He also donated the magnificent 1,000 hands and 1,000 eyes statue of Avalokiteshvara The 11 heads are in tiers of 3-3-3-1-1 while the 1,000 eyes are embedded in the 1,000 palms surrounding the 11 heads. The other statues belong to Songtsen Gampo, Amitayus and one of the holiest statues of Bhutan, the Jowo statue, showing Buddha as a prince at the tender age of eight.

    Outside the sanctum sanctorum, you will notice the toe imprints on the hard wooden floor. This belongs to a ‘lama’ who prayed devoutedly at this temple for over 10 years.

    In 1968, the Queen Mother built the second temple and dedicated it to Guru Rinpoche.

    First Written: Sep. 9, 2013

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    01-The Archery Grounds

    by anilpradhanshillong Updated Sep 8, 2013
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    In Paro, while on your way to Drukyel Dzong and onwards to the fabled Taktsang Lhakhang, you will come across the local Archery Grounds on your right hand side. If you are lucky, a local tournament may well be in progress. On the other hand, being a national sport, it may be played almost throughout the year.

    Separated by 394 ft (120 m), two brightly-painted wooden targets are used alternately by two teams, each team consisting of 11 traditionally-attired players. Each player wears his number painted onto a long sash hanging from his waist. Next to the targets are two small huts which are used as shelters when the opposite team fires their arrows. Owing to the distance, the archer uses a trajectory path to hit the target instead of aiming directly.

    Earlier, bows and arrows were made out of a special type of bamboo but around the 1980s, Western-style bows were introduced.

    First Written: Sep. 9, 2013

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    Takstang: The Tiger's Nest Monastery

    by HasTowelWillTravel Written Dec 11, 2010

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    In the Valley, looking up
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    Probably the most famous site in Bhutan for outsiders, the Tiger's Nest Monastery, sits alongside a sheer cliff thousands of feet above the valley. This Buddhist enclave was consecrated as the site where Guru Rimpoche, riding a flying tiger, faced, battled, and defeated the demon that lived on the mountain. This pious deed was remembered in the construction of the monastery, which now accepts pilgrims from across the Tibetan Buddhist landscape.

    While the monastery seems to be just a 20 minute drive from the city center, that's just the beginning. To get to the monastery, there is a hike that requires you to ascend the 900 m from bottom to top. It is a steep set of switchbacks for most of it, with a place to rest about halfway. The end is steps, steeply rising to the monastery.

    Note: no cameras or cell phones are allowed inside, and they check each guest, local or foreigner. You leave your stuff in a guarded room and then can ascend into the monastery, visiting the various shrines and praying to Buddha and receiving blessings. The view from the monastery, as along the hike up, is tremendous, and the architecture of the buildings is awe-inspiring. So soak in the view, feel the atmosphere and reverence that is upon that place.

    more information is available at my travelougue The Pilgrimage to Takstang Monastery

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    See some of "that" decorations

    by ozalp Written Jul 7, 2009

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    I couldn’t find out which word is the most proper one to describe them. So, I am still using “male organ” or phallus to mention them. In Bhutan, houses are generally decorated with many different pictures from Buddhist culture. Also they use male organs with ribbons as a decorative picture at the entrance of a house. It is very common in a certain part of Paro. We saw many examples on our way to Drukyel Dzong. We even stopped by a house to see them in the middle of nowhere.
    Their origin is the Divine Madman, Drukpa Kunley. This distinguished character has a powerful effect and many stories in Bhutan.

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    Drukgyel Dzong

    by ozalp Written Feb 18, 2009

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    Misty/Mystic
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    This place gave me everything I have as an image of mystic Far East. We visited the place on our last day in Bhutan and it was a rainy day. The mist was all around us. Everywhere was green; there were raindrops over the leaves. Climbed a small path and reached the Dzong.
    Behind the Dzong, Chomolhari Mountain (7314m) can be seen. It is the border between Bhutan and Tibet and they believe that Goddess Jomo lives in this mountain.
    “Drukh-yel Dzong” means “Castle of the Victorious Drukpas”.
    This Dzong was built in 1647 by Shabdrung Ngavang Namgyel, as a reminder of the victory against Tibetan army in 1644. But it burned because of an oil candle in 1951. Now it is a mystic, beautiful ruin which covered by a replica roof according to a National Geographic photo taken in 1914.
    Drukgyel is just 16 km far from Paro. On the road, from a certain point you can see Taktsang Monastery.

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    Fly to Paro

    by ozalp Written Feb 18, 2009

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    This is not a “things to do”, it is a must. You cannot pass all the mountains to reach Bhutan. I know that. But it is also an amazing experience.
    I don’t like amusement parks but there isn’t another thing to compare this feeling. We flied to Paro from Kathmandu and I was so sleepy after all the flights we had to reach Kathmandu. Luckily the gentleman sitting by me was so kind to share his excitement with me and he let me see the amazing path we were flying.
    Paro Airport is located in the only place where they could build one. In a country surrounded by mountains, it is hard to find a plane area. So, there are high hills around the airport, too. That means you have to land the airport through a valley. The valley is a little bit small for the plane, so entertainment begins when the plane starts to descend. The valley, as any other ordinary valleys, was curvy. That means we have to change direction while descending. For changing direction, the plane was lowering one wing. When it was about to touch the trees, it was lowering the other wing.
    It was the strangest flight I’ve ever had. The landing was smooth and we had a very comfortable flight, but it doesn’t change that it was the most exciting one for me. I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did.

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    National Museum

    by ozalp Updated Feb 18, 2009

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    Museum
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    This building (Ta Dzong) was the protection and the watchtower of the Rinpung Dzong. Built in 1651 by Tenzing Drugda. It’s been decided to turn into a museum in 1965 by Cigme Dorce Vangchuk and opened in 1968. Circular planned structure has 7 flats. Each one of them has different objects like thangkas (Buddhist banners used in religious ceremonies), sculptures, photographs of the royal family, weapons, valuable postage stamps, etc. (Yes, stamps. I’ve been told that Bhutan’s stamps were so popular among philatelists.) The top floor has a 3 dimensional mandala called the Tshogshing lhakhang or the 'Tree of Life'. So, the top flor is also a temple.
    The collection of the museum is not so rich. But it is a good opportunity to understand the life in Bhutan and see the amazing structure. It has many holy relics, so local people visit the place as if it was a temple. Also you can see a model of Taktshang (aka Tiger’s Nest) monastery in this museum. It is luck, because this monastery is hard to see because of the mist.
    Museum is located over the Rinpung Dzong and Paro. You can see Paro Valley perfectly, and have some nice shots of the Dzong around the museum.
    There was a construction going on while we were there. It was a wooden building, may be an addition to museum, I think. They were still using the old methods for construction.

    There was a construction going on while we were there. It was a wooden building, may be an addition to museum, I think. They were still using the old methods for construction.

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    Rinpung Dzong aka Paro Dzong

    by ozalp Written Feb 18, 2009

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    Little boy in monastery
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    Its name means “The Castle of the Jewels”. It’s first built in 15th century as a small monastery. Then it changed into a big Dzong in 1646. Dzong means “castle monastery”. It burned down in 1907 and lost its all treasures except huge Tangdrol Thangka (Buddhist banner used in religious ceremonies). It was built again by traditional methods right after the fire. Traditional methods of construction mean that this wooden building has no nails or bolts. It was built just by fitting the pieces together. It could be ordinary for making a shelf or table but it is an amazing way to build a huge structure like this.
    Today Paro Dzong is the center of government administrative offices and 200 priests are living here.

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    Taktsang Monastery

    by illa Written Oct 28, 2004

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    Taktsang Monastery

    The name Taktsang means “ Tiger’s Nest ”. The monastery is perched on a rocky ledge with a sheer drop of nearly 800m, and overlooks the Paro valley and the river. It is said that in the second half of the 8th century, Guru Padma Sambhava known as the second Buddha in Bhutan, meditated at the spot where the monastery is situated having alighted there on the back of a flying tigress.

    It's an ideal place for a short trek. The round trip hike takes about 4 hrs.

    A picture of this Taktsang Monastery appeared as a cover picture of one edition of Lonely Planet "Bhutan".

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    Drugyal Dzong

    by illa Written Oct 28, 2004

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    Drugyal Dzong

    Known as a ruined fortress, this Dzong, with a delightful village nestling at its foot, was built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. Although in ruins today, this Dzong is of great historical importance. It was here that the Bhutanese finally defeated the invading Tibetans and drove them back. From here, the peak of Mount Chomolhari “ Mountain of Goddess ” can be seen on a clear day.

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    Rinchen Pong Dzong

    by illa Written Oct 28, 2004

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    Rinchen Pong Dzong

    This massive fortress is located in the Paro valley and is approached by a gently sloping flagstone road and a beautiful wooden bridge roofed with shingles and abutted by two guard houses. Today, as two of the functions for Dzongs, it is the Administrative seat of the district of Paro and it also contains a state monastic community of about 200 monks. The central tower ( Utse ) of the Dzong is one of the most beautiful in Bhutan with its superb woodwork. The Dzong was built in 1645 A.D.

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    Ta-Dzong

    by illa Written Oct 28, 2004

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    Ta Dzong

    Built in 17th century, this was actually the Watch Tower of the Paro Rinchen Pong Dzong. It was converted into the National Museum in 1968 and holds a fascinating collection of art, relics, religious Thangkha paintings and Bhutan's exquisite postage stamps.

    Unlike the rectangular shape of the Dzongs, Ta Dzong is round, more like parts of an European castle. It is the only round shape Dzong in the whole country.

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    Kyichu Lhakhang

    by illa Updated Oct 28, 2004

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    Kyichu Lhakhang

    Lhakhang in local language (in Tibetan as well) means temple. It's one of the oldest and most sacred monasteries of the Kingdom - dated 7th century AD, built by the Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo.

    It is an important place of pilgrimage and of ceremonies for the royal family.

    For those who are a bit more interested in the religion and the history, here's something to read:

    "In the seventh century an event occurred that was decisive for Bhutan’s history: the Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo (619-649) erected the first Buddhist temples, the Kyichu-Lhakhang in Paro and the Jampe-Lhakhang in Bumthang.
    The display of the monuments marked the victory of Buddhism over pre-Buddhist deities. Songtsen Gampo wanted to tame a huge demon whose body covered all of Tibet and its neighbouring areas, which posed a particularly big problem to the spreading of buddhism. The king thus decided to erect a temple on each of the demon’s joints so that she would no longer be able to move. Songtsen Gampo was said to have magically multiplied himself and to have sent all of his emanations into the various areas of Tibet so as to erect 108 temples in one day. Towering over the heart of the demon there is the famous Jokhang-Temple in Lhasa. The demon’s left knee is held by the Jampe-Lhakhang of Bumthang and her left sole is fixed by the Kyichu-Lhakhang in Paro. This, however, does not imply that Tibet held sovereignty over the southern valleys of the Himalayas. At that time, Bhutan's valley people did not seem to have any objections against the erection of the temples. "

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    Inside Drugyal Dzong

    by illa Written Oct 28, 2004

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    Drugyal Dzong

    Standing up there at the ruins, you'd have a overall view of the north, which was the passage way of the Tibetan invaders. And you'd know how critically important this location was.

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