Paro valley extends from the confluence of the Paro Chhu and the Wang Chhu rivers at Chuzom upto Mt. Jomolhari at the Tibetan border to the North. This picturesque region is one of the widest valleys in the kingdom and is covered in fertile rice fields and has a beautiful, crystalline river meandering down the valley. This beautiful valley encapsulates a rich culture, scenic beauty and hundreds of myths and legends. It is home to many of Bhutan’s oldest temples and monasteries, the country’s only airport, and the National Museum. Mt. Jomolhari (7,300m) reigns in white glory at the northern end of the valley, its glacial waters plunging through deep gorges to form the Pa Chu (Paro river). The Paro valley is one of the kingdom’s most fertile, producing the bulk of Bhutan’s famous red rice from its terraced fields.
This dzong, with a picturesque village nestling below its ramparts, was built by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1646, to commemorate his victory over the Tibetan invaders. Though largely destroyed by fire in 1951, the towering outer walls and central keep remain an imposing sight. On a clear day, there is a splendid view of Mt. Jomolhari from the approach road to Drukgyel Dzong. It was built to commemorate the victory of the Bhutanese over the allied Tibet-Mongol forces. Hence it derived the name Drukgyal or ‘the fortress of the victorious Drukpas’. It was the foremost defensive fortification against Tibetan invasions. Though the Dzong was destroyed by fire in 1951, the massive ruins still retain a measure of their former grandeur. While in Paro it is highly recommended that you pay these magnificent ruins a visit. The fortress grounds are a popular picnic spot amongst tourists and locals alike.
Taktsang Lhakhang is Bhutan’s most iconic landmark and religious site. The name Taktsang translates to “The Tiger’s Nest”. This temple is one of the most holy sites in the kingdom and clings impossibly to a sheer cliff face 900 hundred meters above the Paro Valley. It was first built in 1692 at a cave where Guru Rimpoche meditated in the 7th century A.D. Legend states that Guru Rimpoche flew to the site atop the back of a tigress and meditated in the cave for 3 years, 3 months, 3 days and 3 hours in order to subdue evil demons residing within it. The cave has been considered a sacred site ever since and many famous saints have travelled to meditate in it.
It is one of the 108 temples built by the Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo in one day across the Himalayan region in the 7th century to pin down the left foot of a giant ogress who was thwarting the establishment of Buddhism in Tibet. It is one of the oldest temples built in Bhutan
The temple is in the shape of a chorten and is located in Jangsa village. This unique temple was built by Drubthob Thangtong Gyalpo in the 8th century to subdue the demon bringing harm to Buddhism. It was believed to be built at the head of a demon to mark the victory of Buddhism over the anti-Buddhist evil forces.
At one time a watch tower built to defend the Rinpung Dzong during inter-valley wars of the 17th century; the Ta Dzong has been functioning as the National Museum since 1967. It holds fascinating collections of art, relics, religious Thangka paintings and Bhutan’s exquisite postage stamps.