Different views of Paro Monastery

Bhutan travelogue: Chapter 23 | Read other chapters – See photo gallery

↑ Paro Chhu (river) and Dzong. The little building on top right is the National Museum.

Paro Dzong also called Rinchen Pung (Rinpung) Dzong and it means ‘a fortress on a heap of jewels’. The monastery looks very impressive and its massive buttressed walls tower over the town and the valley.

We take things around us for granted! The Paro river flows silently along the Dzong and offers a scenic view of the monastery. The traditional wooden bridge built over the river is called Nyamai Zam. The bridge is used as an access to the east side of the river and local residents use it daily to cross to the other side. I met a guy while taking pictures of the bridge. He said (paraphrased) “everyone who visits the temple spends time on the bridge taking photographs, but this is so regular to me that I don’t even see it!” Indeed, in my 25 years in Mumbai, I visited the Gateway of India twice and in my 2.5 years in Toronto I visited the CN tower umm.. zero times! πŸ™‚

↑ Paro Dzong and valley from a a hilltop

History: Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the unifier of Bhutan as a nation state ordered the construction of this dzong in 1644 CE. He is the same person who initiated construction of the Wangdue dzong too. The fort was used as a defense station and protected the town during several aggressions from Tibet.

↑ Stairs to the entrance

Paro was our hub for next few days and we took trips to Cheli La and Tiger’s nest Monastery. So I visited the dzong on the first day, second day, third day… you get the idea.