Must See Sights in Paro Valley, Bhutan
A visit to Paro Valley is incomplete without a trip to the many sacred sites and temples in the region. In this article, you will learn about the importance of the Rinpung Dzong, the famous Tachong Monastery and other sights that should not be missed during your trip. In addition, you will discover the best ways to enjoy these sacred sites while you are in the region. Here are some ideas:
If you’re on a religious journey to the Himalayas, you must visit the enchanting temple of Kyichu Lhakhang. This architectural marvel was constructed overnight by the Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo. The interiors are mostly blue, with dazzling carvings and paintings of Buddhist and Tantric deities. The temple is open to the public daily from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM. It is free to enter and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains.
While in Paro, you should check out the Weekend Market. You’ll find traditional Bhutanese clothes and items at the market, such as prayer wheels and fermented moldy cheese called Zeodey. You can also sample the local delicacies of dried yak cheese and organic honey. The valley is surrounded by mountains and enjoys salubrious weather year-round.
Druk Choeding Temple
Located at the end of the valley, the Druk Gyel Dzong offers an excellent view of Mount Chomolhari. The National Museum, housed in a 17th-century watchtower, is also worth a visit. It houses an impressive collection of Bhutanese artifacts. The Paro Dzong is another architectural wonder.
Another one of the must-see sights in Paro Valley is the monastery of Tachog Lhakhang. This temple is a must-see sight for all travelers who visit Bhutan. The Dzongdrakha Goemba was built in the 15th century to celebrate a victory against the Tibetans. Legend has it that the invaders mistakenly thought they were entering the town of Paro but ended up in the courtyard. Home soldiers eventually captured the invaders and burned the monastery down. The charred wooden structures and giant walls make this an interesting sight.
Rinpung Dzong (also called Paro Dzong) is one of the most important and imposing Buddhist monasteries in Bhutan. Located two kilometres from the airport, the Rinpung Dzong offers spectacular views of the valley and its famous river, the Paro Chu. This ancient monastery served as the government office and fortress of Bhutan in the past, and its architecture and art are truly mind-blowing.
In addition to Rinpung Dzong, one must not miss the National Museum of Bhutan. Located within the Ta Dzong, this museum houses valuable collections of Buddhist art. However, cameras are not permitted inside. It is possible to take pictures of the Ta Dzong, but it is not permitted inside the National Museum. Visiting both the Rinpung Dzong and Ta Dzong is a must on any Paro Valley Bhutan vacation.
While in the Paro Valley, be sure to visit the Tachong Monastery, a 16th century monastic complex. Located in a beautiful valley, this monastery was built to commemorate the Bhutanese’s victory over Tibet-Mongol forces. Known as the “Fortress of Victory”, this dzong was the summer retreat of king Ringpung Rabday. Though it was burnt down in 1951, it is still considered a holy site in Bhutan and will soon be restored to its original glory.
If you have time, you should also visit the Rinpung Dzong, a historic fortress and monastery built by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. The dzong is also the administrative headquarters of Paro’s Monastic Body. Originally a small temple, this dzong was later turned into a five-storey fortress. The dzong contains fourteen shrines and is the site of an annual festival called Tshechu.
Tiger’s Nest monastery
A must see sight in Paro Valley Bhutan is Tiger’s Nest monastery. The monastery hangs on a cliff about three hundred meters above sea level and is one of the country’s most important religious sites. It is believed to be the site where Guru Padmasambhava, the Second Buddha, meditated. According to legend, he sat here for three years, three months, and three days. The monastery has beautiful views and is accessible from multiple directions.
The trek to Tiger’s Nest is approximately five to six kilometers from the base of the mountain. It takes about three hours to reach the monastery and about an hour to return. The trek is not difficult, but it can be tiring! It is highly recommended that you book ahead of time to avoid rushing through the hike. In addition to visiting the monastery, make sure to visit the nearby temples of the Paro Valley.