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PARO 帕羅 (2,280m/7,218 ft)

A trip to Bhutan normally begins and ends at Paro, and there can be few more charming valleys to be welcomed by, or from which to remember the Land of Thunder Dragon. As you climb down from the aircraft and take your first breath of Bhutanese air, you will be stuck by the silence and peace of Paro valley. The town of Paro is small with most of the inhabitants living in the valley that surrounds the town.

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. Chomolhari (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.

It is said that Guru Rinpoche, the founding father of the Bhutanese strain of Mahayana Buddhism, arrived in the valley of Paro more than a millenium ago on the back of a legendary tigress. He meditated for three months in a cave where a monastery was later built. The monastery, Taktsang, or the Tigher's Nest, is one of the most sacred pilgrim sites for every Bhutanese. Most unfortunately early in 1998, the monastery suffered a fire. However, the pelghug, or the holy cave, in which Guru Rinpoche meditated was found intact and safe. The reconstruction of the monastery to its original splendour is already in process. Visitors to Paro can take a closer look at the monastery by ascending either on foot or by pony for about three hours to the Tiger's Nest.





Drukgyel Dzong

This dzong, with a picturesque village nestling below its ramparts, was built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal 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 spendid view of Mt. Chomolhari from the approach road to Drukgyel Dzong.

Rinpung Dzong日蓬堡

The "Fortress of the heap of jewels' was built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal on a hill above the township. The approach to the Dzong is through a traditional covered bridge (called the Nemi Zam) and then up a paved stone path running alongside the imposing outer walls. The valley's annual sprintime religious festival, the Paro Tsechu, takes place in the courtyard of the dzong and on the dance ground on the hillside above.

Ta Dzong (National Museum) 帕羅塔 (現為國家博物館)

On a ridge immediately above Rinpung Dzong is Ta Dzong, built as a watchtower to protect Rinpung Dzong. ("Ta" means "to see" in Dzongkha, so the watchtower of the dzong is always called a "Ta Dzong"). On account of their function, watchtowers are always round in shape. In 1968 Paro's Ta Dzong was inaugurated as the National Museum, and now holds a fascinating collection of art, relics, religious thangkha paintings, Bhutan's exquisite postage stamps, coins and handicrafts, together with a small natural history collection.

Kyichu Lhakhang克楚拉康寺(又名朱雀寺)

This lhakhang, built in the 7th century, is one of the two oldest and most sacred shrines in Bhutan (the other being Jambey Lhakhang in Bumthang). Kyichu Lhakhang is composed of twin temples. The first temple was built by the Tibetan king, Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century. In 1968, H.M. Ashi Kesang, the Queen Mother of Bhutan, arranged for a second temple to be built alongside the first one, in same style.

Farm Houses

The natural beauty of Paro Valley is enchanced by picturesque farm houses dotted about the fields and on the hillsides. The two to three-stored Bhutanese farm houses are handsome in appearance, with colorfully decorated outer walss and lintels, and are traditionally built without the use of single nail. All houses follow the same architectural style. A visit to a farm house gives an interesting glimpse into the lifestyle of a farming family.

Kila Gompa

This is the serene home of Buddhist nuns who have dedicated their lives to spiritual fulfillment. In this gompa, nestled in a craggy patch of rock on the mountainside below Chele-la pass, they spend their days in religious studies, prayer and meditation. Kila Gompa is about an hour's walk from Chele-la, down a path through pine forest.

Taktshang Monastery(Tiger's Nest) 虎穴修道院

It is one of the most popular spiritual heritage sites, perched precariously on the rockface of a sheer cliff 900m above the ground The hike up to the monastery takes about 3-4 hours. There is a lookout point and a cafeteria about three hours walk from the walk. For those less inclined to climibing, you can catch a good bird's eye view from the bottom of the monastery.

All information are given for your reference. They are subject to change without giving any prior notice.



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