Places to visit in Paro Valley
Paro Valley Overview
1,287 sq. km
Paro valley extends from the confluence of the Paro Chhu and the Wang Chhu rivers at Chuzom upto Mt. Jomolhari at the Tibetan border to the North. This
region is one of the widest valleys in the kingdom and is covered in fertile rice fields and has a beautiful, crystalline river meandering down the valley. It is here
where you will find one and only one International Air port in Bhutan. And it has many historic and cultural sights.
Ta Dzong(National Museum of Bhutan)
Ta-Dzong which means watch tower, was contructed in 1650s by Tenzin Drugdra, the half brother of Zhanbdrung Ngawang Namgyel while he was Paro
Penlop, to Gurd the Paro Rinpung Dzong. And in 1950s it was fallen badly, and in 1965 third king of Bhutan Jigme Dorji Wangchuck have resotred
it and converted as National museum in 1968. It houses many gallaries such as Mask gallery, Painting(Thangka), Sculpture, Natural History etc.
But again it was damaged by earthquate in 2011 and is under renovation, so some of the artifacts can be seen in the temporary building above the
Taktsang Lhakhang is Bhutan's most iconic landmark and religious site. The name Taktsang translates to "The Tiger's Nest". This temple is
one of the most holy sites in the kingdom and clings impossibly to a sheer cliff face 900 hundred meters above the Paro Valley.
It was first built in 1692 by Desi Tenzin Rabgay at a cave where Guru Rimpoche meditated in the 8th century A.D. Legend states that
Guru Rimpoche flew to the site atop the back of a tigress and meditated here in order to subdue evil demons residing within it
The cave has been considered a sacred site ever since and many famous saints have travelled to meditate in it.
Taktsang Lhakhang is located approximately 10 km north of Paro town at an altitude of 3,120 meters. In order to arrive at the temple visitors have to Hike for around
2-3 hours through beautiful, shady pine forests. No trip to Bhutan would be complete without a visit to this remarkable heritage site.
The main Shrine inside the Temple, that is Jowo Khang is one of the oldest and sacred temples in Bhutan and was built in 7th century by Songtsengampo, the first buddhist
king of Tibet. He has built 108 temples in a night and of 108 2 are in Bhutan; one is Kyichu in Paro and other Jampa Lhakhang in Bumthang.
Later in it was extended by 25th Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot) Sherab Gyeltshen reconstruted byt extending the orginal Temple. And in 971, Kesang Choden Wangchuck,
the queen of Jigme Dorji Wangchuck built a Guru Temple next to the old Jowo Temple which was consecrated by Dilgo Khyentse. Ever since then the annual rites of great
accomplishment for the deities Vajrasattva, Palchen Heruka, and Vajrakilaya have been held in this temple for the well being of the country under the patronage of
Kesang Choden Wangchuck.
There is a belief that the two orange trees in the courtyard of Kyichu Lhakhang bear fruit throughout the year.
Drukgyal Dzong is about 14km from Paro town. And it was a fortress and Buddhist monastery, now in ruins, located in the upper part of the Paro District, Bhutan.
The dzong was probably built by Tenzin Drukdra in 1649 on the command of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, to commemorate victory over an invasion from Tibet in 1644.
In the early 1950s, Drukgyal Dzong was almost completely destroyed by fire but still can see the ruins of it and soon the government of Bhutan is going to
reconstruct it in same design to commenmorate the birth of 6th crown prince of Bhutan. It is listed as a tentative site in Bhutan's Tentative List for UNESCO inclusion.
Dungtse Lhakhang, the little three storied chorten-shaped temple, was built in 1421 by Thangtong Gyelpo to subdue the ogress on the top of whose head it is said to
be built. It was restored in 1841 by the 25th Head Abbot of Bhutan, Sherab Gyeltshen and the names of the Paro donors can still be seen written on the wooden pillars
of the ground floor.
Men of great stature and strength known as the “Nya goe” were employed in the construction to lift the massive pillars used in the temple. It is said that on the day of
construction, the founder himself appeared in the form of five vultures, and circled the temple showering his blessings before taking flight to Tibet. One can also see
the central tower (utse), the pinnacle of the temple, chained from four directions to the roof of the temple. It is believed that while the consecration was being
performed the central tower moved, attempting to fly to Tibet. Thus to stop it from its flight the central tower was chained down.
This temple is unique in Bhutan as its paintings show the progressive stages of Tantric Buddhist philosophy as well as the most important deities and figures of the
Drukpa Kagyudpa School.
Tagchogang Iron Chain Bridge
Tagchogang is on way to Thimphu from Paro. At this place we have one temple but more then Tample is the Iron Chain Birdge that connects from the Paro-Thimphu High way to
Tagchogang Temple on Pa Chu rivers. This iron chain bridge dates back to 15th century and it was constructed by iron builder Drupthop Thangthong
Gyalpo. Although the original bridge was washed away by the flash flood, but we can see the bridge that was constructed in 2008 to commenmorate 100 years of mornach. But
the iron chains are the original chain of Drubthop Thang Thong Gyelpo and was brought from eastern part of Bhutan.
Chele la (pass), at an elevation 3,988 meters is considered to be one of the highest motorable passes in Bhutan. About an hour's drive along a thickly-forested road,
is this Pass-a botanical paradise. The pass provides stunning views of the sacred mountain Jomolhari and Jichu Drake. It is also marked by hundreds of prayer flags
fluttering in the wind and from here we can view the second highest peak of Bhutan Mt. Jomulhari which is 7326 m from sea leve.
Here, visitors can see cascades of wild roses; purple and yellow primulas; and swathes of deep blue iris covering the forest floor. The top
of the pass bloom with rhododendrons in a variety of colours-pale pink, deep pink, burnt orange, mauve, white and scarlet.