Paro Bhutan

By Bibek Debroy [email protected] | 2013

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Paro is the only airport, is about 1 to 1.5 hours away from Thimphu. Both Paro and Thimphu are in the western part of Bhutan. Very few people go to the central n eastern parts, unless one approaches from West Bengal, Assam or Arunachal Pradesh. Only airline is Druk Air. Flight from Delhi takes around 1.5 hrs. On the way from Delhi, one should ask for a window seat on left. On return, ask for a window seat on right. Depending on the clouds and light, one gets a magnificent view of the Himalayas. In this, the sun is rising above the clouds and the Himalaya range.

This is Gaurishankar (7181 metres). There are actually two summits, the northern and taller one is called Shankar and the southern one is called Gauri. To see pics of Mount Everest on flight to Paro Click here

Paro is a very pretty and small city, without the relative hustle and bustle of Thimphu. It is located on the banks of the Paro river.

This is the Ugyen Peiri Palace in Paro. The king lives in Thimphu, but when he is in Paro, he stays here. This particular wing is interesting, because it was specifically built for Nehru, when he visited Bhutan in 1958.

This is Paro Rinpung Dzong, built in 1646. It overlooks the Paro valley. A Dzong is specific to Bhutan. It is part an ancient fortress cum palace. It is part a monastery of sorts, since monks also live inside a Dzong. And now, a Dzong is also the administrative headquarters.

Masks are an integral part of Bhutan''s religious and cultural life. All religious festivals have dances with masked dancers, representing both good and evil.

This is the Ta-Dzong National Museum in Paro. It is worth a visit because of the fantastic collection of masks and tankhas that it possesses.

Buddhist iconography invariably has the story of four friends, an elephant, a monkey, a rabbit and a bird who cooperated.

This is the Kyichu Lhakhang. This dates back to the 7th century and is one of Bhutan''s most sacred temples. Actually, there are two temples within the area, the second one was built recently in 1968. It is just outside Paro.

Butter lamps burning inside the Kyichu Lhakhang.

This is part of the Drukgyel Dzong. It was built in 1646 to commemorate the victory over Tibet.

A better view of the Drukgyel Dzong. After being built, this fortress was used to repel several Tibetan invasions. A fire destroyed part of it in 1951.

Freshly cut wood.

Masked Dancers.

Masked Dancers.

Masked Dancers.

A cultural programme in Paro at night

The Takin is an odd kind of animal and is also Bhutan''s national animal. While it is found in the wild, the best place to see a Takin is in the Motithang Takin Preserve in Thimphu. The animal is believed to have been created in the 15th century by the Lama Drukpa Kunley.

The Druk Home Museum in Paro is worth a visit. It is a completely private museum, set up by a family. This is a stuffed Yak from that museum.

Painting of a saint chaining a tiger. To see Tribal Museum at Munisyari in Uttaranchal Click here