Ta-Dzong which means watchtower, was constructed in the 1650s by Tenzin Drugdra, the half-brother of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel while he was Paro Penlop, to Guard the Paro Rinpung Dzong. And in the 1950s it was fallen badly, and in 1965 third king of Bhutan Jigme Dorji Wangchuck have restored it and converted it into a National museum in 1968. It houses many galleries such as Mask Gallery, Painting(Thangka), Sculpture, Natural History, etc.
But again it was damaged by an earthquake on September 18, 2011, and underwent a major renovation under Division for Cultural Heritage Sites, Department of Culture, Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs, Royal Government of Bhutan. It was funded by the Government of India. The Museum re-opened to the public on 24th June 2020 corresponding to the 3rd day of the 5th Bhutanese month of Male Iron Rat year.
There are 6 floors within Museum. And the artifacts that are found are
Ground Floor: Below the arms and armour gallery, there are two cell rooms, where it is said to have been used to keep prisoners of wars(PoW) during the time of internal and external strife. Today, these rooms houses various types of canon guns, spears, match lock guns and other weapons that were used during the olden days.
First Floor: This gallery exhibits both modern and traditional weapons that include guns, pistols, cannons, swords, bows and arrows. The guns were presented by foreign diplomats to the Third and Fourth Kings of Bhutan on the occasion of their respective coronations. Other weapons of war on display are swords, rifles, knives, helmets, and shields.
Second Floor: Bhutanese stamps, and Jewelleries like rings, earrings, bangles, amulets(Gau), Koma(brooches) with Jabtha and Rumnang and sword and belt(patang and losey) used by man and woman.
Third Floor: This floor is dedicated to the founding monarchy. Starting from the 1st king of Bhutan, His Majesty Gongsar Ugyen Wangchuck till 5th King, His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, the royal artifacts belonging to a particular king are on display.
Inside the museum entrance on the fourth floor is a small collection of prehistoric items ranging from adzes to
earthenware pots collected from different parts of the country. The items represent an important source of information
demonstrating the existence of people in Bhutan since the Stone Age.
Also on display in the fourth floor are religious items from the time when Buddhism was introduced into Bhutan in the 8th century such as ritual daggers, swords and other sacred items.
Fifth Floor: The Chapel of the Wealth Deity
The ‘Namsay Phodrang’ is located in the inner circular chamber on the fifth floor is dedicated to Gyalpo Namthoe Sey (Skt. Vaishravana) along with Namsey Tadgyed or eight yakshas riding on horses. Namthoe Sey is the guardian king of the northern celestial point in Buddhist cosmetology and is associated with wealth and prosperity. In Bhutan he is respectfully called Norlha Namsey and at the time of the museum’s original opening in 1968, the museum was named ‘Namsey Bangdzod’, the Treasury of Wealth-deity instead of the National Museum of Bhutan as it is now known.
The outer galleries of the 5th floor showcases Thangkpa paintings. The art of thangka painting was introduced to Bhutan as early as the 12th century C.E. and unlike other paintings, they are created to contribute to the spiritual fulfillment of a Buddhist practitioner. The subjects of the Museum’s paintings are Buddhas, mandalas, guardian deities, and tutelary deities. There are also very fine paintings displayed of the great Buddhist scholars honorifically known as the Six Ornaments and Two Excellent Ones, and the Buddha’s Sixteen Arhats.
Sixth FLoor: Tshogzhing Lhakhang (Chapel of the Tree of Merit)
The Tshogzhing Lhakhang comprises of a three dimensional tree mandala rep-resenting the four major schools of Vajrayana Buddhism in the eastern Himalayan region such as the old sect (Nyingma), Black hat sect, (Kagyu), Shakya sect and Gelugpa – Yellow hat sect, spiritual masters, tutelary and protecting deities for the purpose of veneration and worship by the visitors and the public and large. It is located on the sixth floor and was created by the prominent clay master Lopen Damcho along with his apprentice artisans in 1968.
Open: Every day from 08:00 to 17:00 in summer and 08:00 to 16:00 in winter, it is closed on govt and local holidays not on weekends.
Lunch Break: No lunch break
Dress Code:No formal dress is required
Tourist: Nu. 500 (Roughly USD 7)
SAARC touris: Nu. 300 (Rougly USD 4)
Photography:No Photography is allowed inside.