Paro is a valley town in Bhutan, west of the capital, Thimphu. It encapsulates a rich culture, scenic beauty and hundreds of myths & legends. The Paro Valley is known for many oldest temples & monasteries, National Museum and country’s only airport. Paro is also known to be one of the most fertile valley in the Kingdom producing a bulk of the locally famous red rice from its terraced fields. Paro also offers great trekking activity for tourists to its “Tiger’s Nest” and many more. Paro also offers tourist to explore the traditional structure, and art and craft by local.
List of Top Attractions and Landmarks of Paro Valley:
Rinpung Dzong also known as Paro Rinpung Dzong is some 2 km from the national airport along the side of Pa Chhu, built at the time of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel in the year of 1644. It houses the district Monastic Body and government administrative offices of Paro District. The annual Paro Tshechu (festival) also hosted in this Dzong.
Drukgyal meaning “the fortress of the victorious Drukpas” is located in Phondey village in Paro and was built by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel to commemorate his victory over the Tibetan force in 1649. Giving the clear picture of Mountain Jhomolhari from the point and below village, attracting more tourist. The dzong used to house one of the biggest granaries among all the dzongs in the country. However the dzong was brought down by the fire in 1951.
Taktsang Monastery or Tiger’s Nest is the most renowned sacred site in Bhutan located in the Cliffside of upper Paro Valley. It is believed that Guru Padmasambhava flew to this place on the back of Tigress.Guru Padmasambhava then meditated in one of the cave and emerged in eight incarnated forms (manifestations). The place was subsequently known as “Tiger Nest”. Now the monastery is visited by every Bhutanese to pay homage and pray.
Jangsarbu Lhakhang is home to the majestic statue of Sakyamuni Buddha, carried all the way from Lasha, Tibet. According to legend, the statue of Shakyamuni Buddha was mainly destined for Paro Dzong or Rinpung Dzong and for the safe keeping of the statue, it was placed in the temple for overnight. However, when the time came to move the statue to Dzong, it was impossible to lift. So Jangsarbu lhakhang became a permanent abode for the statue. The temple also houses the protector deity of Paro.
Ugyen Pelri Palace
Ugyen Pelri Palace can be an extraordinary example of Bhutanese design built by Paro Penlop Tshering Tobgay. It is designed after Guru Rinpoche’s celestial paradise, Zangto Pelri, and it is located below the Paro Dzong on the other side of Pa Chhu. It is concealed in the woods, enclosed by perimeter wall.
Dungtse Lhakhang is the three storied temple located few minutes’ walk form the main town, which was built by great bridge builder Thangtong Gyelpo. The three floors of the temple mainly represent Hell, Earth and Heaven. This temple also has paintings of most important deities and Tantric Buddhist philosophy.
Druk Choeding is located in the town which was built by Ngawang Chogyel, prince abbot of Ralung Tibet and ancestor of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel. The main statue of the Lhakhang is Jampa (Future Buddha).
Kyichu Lhakhang is one of the oldest and sacred temple in Bhutan, built by Songtsän Gampo in 7th century. The temple is also one among the 108 temple built by Songtsän Gampo on the body part of the demon causing obstruction to spreading Buddhism in Himalayan country. There’s a belief that the two orange trees here in Kyichu Lakhang bears fruit throughout the year.
Ta Dzong is located above the Paro Dzong which was used as watch tower and fortress to protect Paro Dzong from invasion. Ta Dzong now known as National Museum host different galleries which provide better display and various categorizations such as anthropology, arms and armor, pre-history, manuscript, paintings, textiles, bronzes, decorative arts, philatelic items, epigraphic items and numismatics.
Chumbu Lhakhang is one of the religious and sacred place in Himalaya and it is believed Guru Padmasambhava have meditated here in 8th century. The place is populated with Nye (sacred place) from the starting point till the monastery. We can view number caves where the grate teacher have meditated. The main statue of the monastery is Dorjee Phagmo (Vajra Varahi) standing on air.
Dra Karpo the cliff-hanging temple Dra Karpo is a magical place to meditate. It is believed that this sacred place of worship was previously visited by Guru Rinpoche. In the temple you can see a huge stone which the Guru, according to legend, shifted from the mountain side to make space for the intimate altar room which you can now visit. The views from the temple are breath taking with an immediate drop down to Paro valley. It takes about 30 minutes to drive from Paro town to the temple.