One of the finest examples of architecture, the Rinpung Dzong, also known as the Paro Dzong, has a very spiritual environment. Beautifully lit-up at night, the dzong has many illustrations portraying the life of Buddha. A hike to the top of the fortress welcomes you with the spectacular view of nearby valleys. The dzong also holds the colourful annual festival Paro Tshechu which makes it even more impressive than it already is.
Known for its grandeur whose glory enhances with each passing day, rather than fading away, Paro Dzong is located in the heart of the city. A religious site overflowing with faith and splendour is everything which one needs to rejuvenate the mind. Not just a significant holy site in Paro, it also offers panoramic views of the Paro Valley and Paro Chhu river to the visitors. Like most dzongs in Bhutan, it houses monks and is an important administrative centre in the city. The 1995 Little Buddha’s shooting site and a perfect family place, it has an ambience so nice which makes one’s evening even more bright and cheerful.
History of Rinpung Dzong
With a structure as grand as Paro Dzong, there is always a rich history associated with it. Paro Dzong official name is Rinpung Dzong, whose literal meaning is “Fortress of a Heap of Jewels”.
Before the Rinpung Dzong was constructed, a small temple was founded on the same site by Drung Drung Gyal in the 15th century. He was a Lama and a descendant of Pajo Drugom Zhigpo. The temple was later built as a fortress, which came to be recognized as Hungrel Dzong. In 1644, after it was offered to Ngawang Namgyal, he broke down the existing dzong into pieces and started construction of a new one, which came to be known as Rinpung Dzong.
The dzong served as a safe haven for the city residents during Tibetan invasions. It was used as a watchtower and attacks were targeted from the fortress only. The dzong also used to be the official meeting hall for National Assembly, before it housed administration offices.
Architecture of Rinpung Dzong
The Rinpung Dzong is an extraordinary example of fine Bhutanese architecture. It is built on a cliff and overlooks Paro Chhu. There are a total of fourteen shrines and chapels in the dzong, and all of these are not open to the general public. Half of the dzong is used for religious purposes, while the other half is used for administrative purposes.
Like the other buildings in Bhutan, no steel material or iron nails have been used in its construction. The inner courtyard is colourful and vibrant. The central tower, called utse, is five stories high and imprinted with beautiful and religious figures. The stone-paved festival ground, just outside the dzong, is the yearly venue for the country’s one of the most popular festivals, Paro Tshechu. The celebrations here last for 4 days and on the last day, a silk thondrol of Guru Rinpoche is unfurled on the wall of the fortress. The paintings inside the dzong are extremely beautiful. This is why it is a paradise for art lovers. Each painting tells its own story and is a marvel to behold!
Attractions Near the Rinpung Dzong
Just outside the Paro Dzong, there is a Degyankha Temple, which is just as sacred as any other temple in Bhutan. Then there is a cantilever bridge, built over Paro Chhu, which offers mesmerizing views of the surrounding scenery. The hills, pristine river, a majestic dzong; looks like a dream truly.