Paro at a glance

Paro (Dzongkha) is a town and seat of Paro District, in the Paro Valley of Bhutan.It is a historic town with many sacred sites and historical buildings scattered throughout the area. It is also home to Paro Airport, Bhutan's sole international airport.

Rinpung Dzong a fortress-monastery overlooking the Paro valley has a long history. A monastery was first built on the site by Padma Sambhava at the beginning of the tenth century, but it was not until 1644 that Ngawang Namgyal built a larger monastery on the old foundations; for centuries this imposing five-storey building served as an effective defence against numerous invasion attempts by the Tibetans.

Built with stones instead of clay, the Dzong was named Rinpung, meaning "heaps of jewels" but Rinpung and all its treasures were destroyed by the fire in 1907. Only one thangka, known as Thongdel, was saved. The Paro Dzong was rebuilt by the penlop dawa Penjor after the fire. Housed within its walls is a collection of sacred masks and costumes. Some date back several centuries; others were contributed by Dawa Penjor and his successor Penlop Tshering Penjor in recent times.

On the hill above the Dzong stands an ancient watchtower called Ta Dzong which since 1967, has been the National Museum of Bhutan. Across a medieval bridge below the Dzong stands the Ugyen Pelri Palace, a royal residence constructed by penlop Tshering Penjor.

Area 7,200 ft (2,200 m)
Capital
Population 36,433
Official Languages Tibeto-Burman
Boundary

Paro is a valley town in Bhutan, west of the capital, Thimphu. It is the site of the country’s only international airport and is also known for the many sacred sites in the area. North of town, the Taktsang Palphug (Tiger’s Nest) monastery clings to cliffs above the forested Paro Valley. Northwest of here are the remains of a defensive fortress, Drukgyel Dzong, dating from the 17th century.

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