Paro is a beautiful valley in western Bhutan at an altitude of 2200m. It is Bhutan’s third largest town and is where the international airport is located. The valley is flat and surrounded by the inner Himalayan Mountains. The lands here are fertile where farmers grow – rice the main crop and apple the cash crop. It is also where all the popular treks start, like the Snow Man Treks, Jomolhari Treks, Laya Gasa treks, Druk Path treks and Sagala treks.
Paro Dzong (Ringpung Dzong):
With the meaning “the fortress of a heap of jewels”, it is the original site of the Dzong founded in 15th century by Gyalchok, descendant of Phajo Drukgom Shipo, the founder of Kagyupa School in Bhutan. In 1645 his descendant Humrel Chojay offered the site of Humrel Dzong to Zhabdrung Rimpoche, on which he built the Dzong in the following year and named it the Ringpong Dzong. It was built to defend the people and valley from Tibetan invasion. The Dzong houses one of the most scared treasures of religious banner known as the THONGDROL, of a majestic size of 20sq.m. Chogyel Sherab Wangchu, the eighth temporal ruler, commissioned this banner in the 18th century. Today it is displayed to public once a year during the time of Paro festival in March or Arial. The Dzong serves as a Central Monastic and the Administrative Office of the Paro District.
Ta Dzong (Watch Tower) (Paro):
It was built by Paro Governor Tenzin Durda in 1649 AD to safe guard the main Ringpung Dzong from Tibetan invaders. This 7-storey building takes a couch shape and the thickness of these walls is 2.5 meters. It was almost ruined in 1965 but Bhutan’s Third King restored and converted it into a museum in 1968. The museum have six galleries located on six different levels :
- Top level : the Stamps gallery, displaying different types of stampes – famous Bhutanese stamps, 3-dimensional stamps, disc-stamps, silk stamps, triangular stamp with Yeti pictures, etc. Inside this gallery is the temple of the 3-dimensional Mandala of the four different sects in Buddhism.