PARO - "DESTINATION FOR SCENIC BEAUTY"
Paro is the name of a district, valley, river and town (population 39,800) in the Kingdom of Bhutan. It is one of the most historic valleys in Bhutan. Both trade goods and invading Tibetans came over the pass at the head of the valley, giving Paro the closest cultural connection with Tibet of any Bhutanese district.
Paro contains the only active international airport in Bhutan, the Paro Airport, a beautiful small green-roofed facility in a valley, served only by Drukair (Bhutan's National Airline) from India and other countries in Southeast Asia.
Paro is bordered by Haa district to the west, Tibet to the north, Thimphu to the east, and Chukha district to the south. Paro comprises ten gewogs or counties or blocks
The Taktsang monastery is the most famous Bhutanese monastery located in the Paro valley, western Bhutan. Perched on a cliff 900 meters above the valley, the Taktsang monastery is a must see sight while traveling in Bhutan. It is also known as "Tiger's Nest" because Guru Rimpoche is said to have flown on the back of a tigress in the 8th century. He then meditated in a cave here for three months where the monastery was later built. The cave is said to be the origin of Bhuddism in Bhutan.
The monastery caught on fire in 1998. The process of rebuilding it is still on process but the holy cave has been found intact after the disaster.
The Dzong is located in Drukgyal in Paro. Druk Gyal Dzong was built as one of the four principal Dra Dzongs (defence fortress). Accounts differ on the founder of Druk Gyal Dzong. Most writers feel that it was Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal who built it to commemorate his victory over the Tibetan army in 1649. Others believe that it was Tenzin Drugda the second Desi and the Paro Penlop who built it at the behest of Zhabdrung Nawang Namgyal. Despite differences of opinion on the founder of the Dzong, people agree on the fact that it was built to commemorate the victory of the Bhutanese over the allied Tibet-Mongol forces. Hence it derived the name Druk Gyal “the fortress of victory”.
The Dzong is located about five and a half kilometers away from Tshongdu town (the main town of Paro) and 500 feet from the Ringpung Dzong. After the Ringpung Dzong was successfully completed, La Ngonpa Tenzin Drugda who was to later become the 2nd Desi ascended as the 1st Penlop of Paro. During his tenure the country was threatened by unceasing assaults from Tibet and India. Therefore, to protect the country from invaders and especially to protect the Paro Rinpung Dzong, La Ngonpa Tenzin Drugda accompanied by Chogyal Minjur Tenpa built the Ta Dzong (TA=watch, Dzong=fortress) in the mid seventeenth century.
Paro Rinpung Dzong
Most distinct and magnificent, the Dzong (fortress) is an architectural masterpiece with as much interest in its origin as to its functions and beauty. Thrilling myths and legends circle the Dzongs, just as people, tourists included circle the Dzongs in religious practice. Dzongs are not just places of religious duty and interest. Probably, the most defining factor which distinguishes the Dzongs from other forms of architecture around the world is the fact that they were in the past and are still today multifunctional. The military would use the Dzong as a garrison if need be, and as an armory. The prior governments would claim the Dzongs as the seat of their rule. The administrative bodies of a district would be housed within the Dzongs, as would monks. And the Dzongs were also places of trade and an area where people would congregate to share in celebration with their fellow man, especially during the annual tshechu (mask dance festival).
Kyichu Lhakhang or Kyerchu Temple is a Buddhist temple in Paro District in Bhutan. It is one of the oldest monasteries in the country built in the 7th century by the Tibetan King Songsten Gampo. The story goes that a giant demoness lay across the whole area of Tibet and the Himalayas and was preventing the spread of Buddhism. To overcome her, King Songtsen Gampo decided to build 108 temples, which would be placed on all the points of her body. Of these 108 temples, 12 were built in accordance with precise plans. Thus, it happened that in about the year AD 638 the temple of Jokhang in Lhasa was built over the very heart of the demoness. This is one of the oldest monasteries in Paro district. There's a belief that the two orange trees here in Kyichu Lakhang bears fruit throughout the year.
Bagdogra near Siliguri, 120 km from Gangtok is the nearest airport to the state. Paro International Airport (PBH/VQPR) is the only entry point to Bhutan by air. It is located in the south west of the country and served only by the country's flag carrier Druk Air
There is frequent services Of Bus between Siliguri and Phuentsholing/Jaigaon. It is roughly a four hour journey.Then there are private buses and shared taxis from Phuentsholing to Thimphu.