For the visitor entering Bhutan via the Himalayas by Druk Air, this beautiful valley is the port of entry into Bhutan. The Paro valley at an altitude of 2280 metres and 53 km from Thimphu is enchanting with its scenic beauty, many of Bhutan's oldest temples, the National Museum and the country's only airport.
PLACES OF INTEREST
Drugyal Dzong: Built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to commemorate his victory over the Tibetan invaders under the Mongol chief, Gurshi Khan, in 1644, this Dzong now stands in ruins, destroyed by a fire in 1951. Having first been seen by western eyes only in 1914 through the eyes of the National Geographic magazine the ruins of this Dzong still stresses its historical significance and strategic location. A clear day allows one to get a fantastic view of Mt. Jhomolhari (23,997 ft) from the village below the Dzong.
Rinpung Dzong: This "fortress of a heap of jewels" was also built by Shabdrung Ngawang
Namgyal in 1646. It presently serves as the home for the Paro Monastic Body and as
the offices for the civil administration of Paro. The Paro Tsechu is held here in
Spring. Ta Dzong: Just behind the Rinpung Dzong on a hillside stands the castle-
Farmhouse: A farmhouse visit demonstrates how the Bhutanese people live. Normally highly decorative it is built and painted in the traditional style. Farmhouses are typically three stories each floor used for different purposes; the top for drying hay, the middle serves as the family quarters and the bottom as a cattle shed.
Kyichu Lhakhang/Monastery:Consisting of twin temples this is the first one built by the Buddhist Tibetan King, Songsten Gampo in the 7th Century bringing Paro into prominence in the Buddhist world. In 1968 a second temple was built alongside the first one in an identical style under the instructions of Her Majesty, Ashi Kesang, the Queen Mother of Bhutan. It is a very holy place for the local people.
Taktsang Hike: Taktsang (Tiger's Nest): The trail to the monastery climbs through beautiful pine forest, many of the trees festooned with Spanish moss, and an occasional grove of fluttering prayer flags. We stop at the cafeteria for a rest and refreshments and continue our hike for short while until we see, clearly and seemingly within reach, the Taktsang monastery. Dedicated to Guru Padmasambhava, this incredible monastery clings to the edge of a sheer rock cliff that plunges 900 meters into the valley below. The history states that Guru Padmasambhava, the tantric master who brought Buddhism to Bhutan, had taken the wrathful form of Guru Dorji Drolo to subdue the demon that were obstructing the spread of Buddhism in the Himalayas. On the left side of the monastery is the retreat place where the famous Tibetan Yogi Mache Lhabdenma attained enlightenment.
Jele Dzong: The ruin is situated at an altitude of 3450m above Paro valley. In the medieval times people often travel from one corner of Bhutan to another on foot and on horses. The Jele Dzong use to give food and shelter during the night halts made by these travellers. The hike to Jele Dzong is five hours walk from the Jeshegang village. Most of the walk is through mixed coniferous forests and often you will see white langurs, Himalayan musk deer and monal peasant. You will also see the magnificent views of the sun setting over the Himalayan peaks if you reach early.