Best Places To Visit In Paro And Around
Have you heard of this picturesque valley destination, Paro of Bhutan? Well, for starters, it is one of the iconic attractions of the land. It is the greenest and widest valley of the country. This is the heart of Bhutan, since it is the destination with international airport in the country. If you are planning to visiting India, covering Bhutan is much easier now. New airway routes cover Bhutan from India, from October 2018. Thanks to Paro River, this paradise is fertile and lush (lush with adventure activities too). You can find a few towns around the valley to enjoy culture and heritage values of the land. What more to do in Paro? Here are the top destinations to visit in and around Paro.
1. Tiger’s Nest monasteryAlso called as the Taktsang Lhakhang, this is the iconic monastery of the country. This distinctive monastery is famous for its unique location, legendary history and so on. To reach this monastery, one should trek for around 4 hours. Built in 17th century, this monastery is said to be the exact place where Guru Rinpoche meditated by flying on a tigress, in 7th century. It is said that he meditated for three years, three months, three days and three hours.
How to reach from the airport?Paro international airport is 35 minutes (18.2 km) away from the monastery. The best way to reach the monastery is via Taktsang trail. If you travel through the Lower Ngoba Village road, it would take around 43 minutes. From the bottom of the hill, you need to walk up to the monastery, along Ramthangkha Road. If desired, you can also hire horses to reach a checkpoint and hike from there.
Top activities to enjoy in Tiger’s Nest monastery
- Enjoy hiking, horse riding and trekking experiences
- Try tasting some humble snacks in the cafeteria near the monastery
- If desired, walk beyond the Tiger Nest monastery, to visit another monastery up the hill.
- Visit the cave, which is now a shrine. The cave was the place of birth of high lama.
- Explore the monastery, including the inner sanctum
- Enjoy meditation in any of the caves, along the route
2. Chele La PassThere are numerous mountain passes in the country. The best of all is the Chele La Pass, which is located between Haa and Paro valley. This mountain pass is famous for short-term excursion (a few hours). This mountain pass is famous for numerous adventure activities like hiking, driving, biking and much more. If you are visiting on a clear day, you can easily spot Mt. Jumolhari.
How to reach from the airport?The mountain pass is 34 km from the international airport. It would take around one and a half hour to reach the mountain pass if you travel via the Bondey – Haa highway. You can find jeeps and cabs from the airport to the mountain pass. You can also hire bikes from service providers to reach the mountain pass.
Top activities to enjoy in Chele La Pass
- Enjoy adventure activities along the mountain pass
- Spot rock paintings of Guru Rinpoche and his wives along the mountain pass.
- You can find a few monasteries on the way. If you find time, give a visit to a few monasteries.
- Hike to Kilanunnery, a meditation site for exploration and meditation.
3. Rinpung DzongThis structure holds a fortress and a monastery. This structure also includes the management offices of Dzongkhag of Paro. It is an important tourist destination built in 17th century. The best time to visit this structure is during local festival, held on the second month of local calendar. Apart from this, tourists and pilgrims visit this structure throughout the year.
Must Read : About Famous Festivals in Bhutan
How to reach from the airport?The Dzong is located in Paro itself. From the airport, find road transportation to directly reach the Dzong or reach the main town of Paro and you can walk to the structure in just 15 minutes. Either way, you need to cover the distance of NyamaiZam footbridge, which runs over the Paro River, on foot.
Top activities to enjoy in Rinpung Dzong
- Visit and explore the structure to find the sandalwood stupa, clear crystal shrine, temple of treasure revealer and other interesting structures inside the complex
- Just outside the structure, you will find Dayangkha temple. Pay a visit to this temple, for a few minutes.
- Trek up the hill to the watchtower fortress to explore. It holds the national museum of Bhutan.
4. Drukgyel DzongThis is a fortress and a monastery, which is in ruins today. It is located in the upper region of Paro. Built in 17th century, this structure was built to celebrate the victory over Tibetan invasion. It is said that the structure has a false entrance, which lurked the invaders to enter, assuming it to be the entrance to the town of Paro. However, they ended up in an enclosed courtyard and were captured by home soldiers. In the mid of 20th century, a butter lamp fell in the central tower of the structure and the whole place was burnt down. All that you can see today are the ruins of giant walls, watchtowers, charred wooden structures and much more.
How to reach from the airport?It is 14 km away from Paro town. From the airport, you can find numerous road transportation to reach the fortress. Some prefer to trek from the outskirts of Paro.
Suggested Tour : 8 Days Bhutan Tour Package - Amazing Treks in Bhutan
Top activities to enjoy in Drukgyel Dzong
- This heritage site is famous among explorers and history lovers
- Visit Choedu Goemba, closer to Drukgyel Dzong (few minutes’ walk away). It is famous for statues and an archery ground.
5. Druk Choeding TempleLocated in the main town of Paro, this temple was built by prince-abbots of Tibet in 16th century. This temple still preserves many artifacts. You can find idols of Jampa, the future Buddha. This is a very small and quiet temple.
How to reach from the airport?The temple is very close to the airport. You can hire all kinds of road transportation or even hitchhike or hike to the temple, from the airport.
Top activities to enjoy in Druk Choeding Temple
- Explore the ancient war artifacts, statues and other collections
- Walk to the local market closer to the temple to enjoy the culture
- The archery ground is also closer to the market. If lucky, you might catch an archery competition or show.
- Enjoy mural paintings inside the temple
6. Dungtse Lhakhang or Jangtsa Dumtseg LhakhangThis temple has an interesting history. It is said that the temple was built on the head of an evil demoness, who was terrorizing the locals. The demon was slayed into five parts, which fell at different spots in the world. A temple is built on the spot, where every part fell. Built in 15th century by Thangtong Gyelpo, who appeared as five vultures to provide blessings, on the day of construction of the temple.
Also Read : History Of Bhutan
How to reach from the airport?It is located in between Dopshari and the Paro valley. You can find cabs and other transportations to reach the temple. However, a 4WD is recommended as the roads are quite rough.
Top activities to enjoy in Dungtse Lhakhang
- Explore the structure to enjoy the three floors of the temple.
- The third floor of the temple holds deities of Tantric Buddhism. Make sure to pay a visit to this floor.
- There are numerous anecdotes associated with the temple. If you could find an English-speaking monk, do not hesitate to ask a few. There is another story, which includes a black snake, too.
- Enjoy paintings, artworks and statues inside the temple. You can only enjoy it with your eyes. Taking photography inside the temple is prohibited.
- Also, visit Jangtsa Palnang Lhakhang of 7th century, located closer to this temple
7. Donkola LhakhangThis monastery is found on the top of a small mountain. The first attraction of this structure is the panoramic view of the Himalayan mountain ranges. It is said that once a treasure robber tried to steal an urn from the temple. When he took it out of the temple, his hand was stuck into it and he had to chop off his hand. The chopped limb is in display inside the temple. Later, the robber built a monastery around the temple.
How to reach from the airport?The shrine is located a little far away from the town of Paro. It would take 2.5 hours of drive from the airport to reach the village. It is better to choose 4WD to reach this monastery. You can easily find transportation to reach the monastery from the airport or any part of the town. Once you reach the foot of the hill, you need to hike up for a few minutes to reach the temple.
Top activities to enjoy In Donkola Lhakhang
- Do not miss the panoramic view around the temple.
- If desired, trek around the temple, to find quiet spots to enjoy picnic
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- Located on the western side of the Paro River, Khangkhu Lhakang is famous for beautiful temples and a small quaint village around it.
- Gonsaka Lhakang is located above Paro, along the hill, where you can find the meditation cave of PhaDrun Drung. In addition, you will get to enjoy a lovely view of the valley from the top.
- Puna Lhakang of 7th century is one of the oldest temples of the country. The main deity of this temple is said to have enormous power to grant wishes.
- Machig Pu Lhakang is located uphill and this is the temple, where local come to pray for begetting children. There is a cave behind the temple, where you can choose images on the wall to determine the gender of the baby. If you get Tibetan saint, you will be blessed by a baby girl. If you get male genitals, you would be having a baby boy.
- Ugyen Tshenmo Lhakang is famous for unique environment, interior 3D mandala and quietness.
- Ranjo Goemba is a school, which is famous for mural paintings, statues, stupas and others.
- Kuenga Choeling Goemba is famous for carvings, murals, glass structures, miniature statues and much more.
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