About PARO (ALTITUDE 8500 FEET)
Paro is a name of the town center as well the name of district or Dzongkhag. The small and charming town of Paro lies in the center of the valley at an average elevation of 2280m, on the bank of Pa Chhu River. Paro town was first formed in 1985 with one main street, lined with colorfully painted shops. Of recent, new constructions have taken place at the back of the main street. The head quarter of Paro district is located in nearby Rinphung Dzong. Bhutan's international airport is also located here and the capital is just over 1hour away. Paro is known to be most fertile valley. It is one of the most historic valleys in Bhutan. Both trade goods and invading Tibetans came over the pass at the head of the valley, making Paro the closest cultural connection with Tibet of any Bhutanese district. Paro is one of the most tranquil and beautiful valley in Bhutan.
Places to Visit PARO (ALTITUDE 8500 FEET)
Road from Paro to Thimphu
The distance of about 55kms from Paro town and about 50km from airport takes around 1hr excluding the stops. Drive south following Pachu River to the river confluence at Chuzom. Along the way to Chunzom, you will first pass villages like Bondey, right after the airport. Then the next village is Shaba and at Isuna, the road crosses bridge to the other side of river. Just 5kms before Chuzom is Tamchog Lhakhang, a private temple owned by the descendents of famous Tibetan bridge-builder Thangtong Gyalpo. Chhuzom (Confluence) is the juncture of Thimphu river (Wang Chu) and Paro river (Pa Chhu). Chuzom is also a major road junction, with southwest road leading to Haa (79km), south road to Phuntsholing (141km) and northeast to Thimphu (30km). From Chuzom, the road follows Wangchu River upstream as you pass through villages and suburbs to the capital, Thimphu.
Cheli la Pass
The 35km drive to cheli la makes an interesting road excursion and is an excellent jumping-off point for day walks. Chele la separates Haa and Paro valley and at 3810m, it is one of the highest motor able pass in Bhutan. The drive till here from either Paro or Haa is through dense spruce and larch forests according to the seasons. On a clear day, there are spectacular views of Mt. Jumolhari, Jichu Drake and adjoining peaks to the North West, as well as the view of Haa and Paro valley.
Paro is a valley town in Bhutan, west of the capital, Thimphu. It is the site of the country’s only international airport and is also known for the many sacred sites in the area. North of town, the Taktsang Palphug monastery clings to cliffs above the forested Paro Valley. Northwest of here are the remains of a defensive fortress, Drukgyel Dzong, dating from the 17th century.
Built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang the first National Museum Parospiritual and temporal ruler of Bhutan, the Dzong houses the monastic body of Paro, the office of the Dzongda (district administrative head) and Thrimpon (judge) of Paro district. The approach to the Dzong is through a traditional covered bridge called Nemi Zam. A walk through the bridge, over a stone inlaid path, offers a good view of the architectural wonder of the Dzong as well as life around it. It is also the venue of Paro Tshechu, held once a year in the spring.
One time watch tower built to defend Rinpung Dozng during inter-valley wars of the 17th century, since 1967 Ta Dzong is serving as the National Museum of the country. It holds fascinating collection of art, relics, religious thangkha paintings and Bhutan's exquisite postage stamps. The museum circular shape augments its varied collection displayed over several floors.
This Dzong, with a delightful village nestling at its foot, was built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to commemorate his victory over the Tibetan invaders. Historically and strategically this Dzong withstood all its glory and was featured in 1914 vide National Geographic magazine. The glory of Drukgyel Dzong remained even when its was destroyed by fire in 1951. On a clear day, one can see the commanding view of Mount. Chomolhari from the village, below the Dzong.
It is one of the oldest and most sacred shrines of the Kingdom dating back to 7th century . The lhakhang complex is composed of two temples. The first temple was built by Tibetan King, Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century and in 1968, H.M. Ashi Kesang, the Queen Mother of Bhutan, built the second temple in original pattern.
The beauty of Paro valley is embellished by cluster of quaint farm houses. Bhutanese farm houses are very colorful, decorative and traditionally built without the use of single nail. All houses follow the same architectural pattern. A visit to Farm House is very interesting and offers a good glimpse into the lifestyle of a farmer.
Built in 1525, this town temple was formed by Ngawang Chhogyel, one of the prince-abbots of Ralung in Tibet and an ancestor of the Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal.
It is the serene home of Buddhist nuns who have dedicated their life for spiritual fulfillment and leading undisturbed life of religious studies, prayer and meditation. The goemba is nestled in a craggy patch on mountain side below the Chelela pass and perched precariously along the rock face. From Chelela pass, the lhakhang is about an hour walk amidst magnificent wooded area.
Chele la (pass), at an elevation 3,988 meters is considered to be one of the highest motorable passes in Bhutan. About an hour's drive along a thickly-forested road, is this Pass-a botanical paradise. The pass provides stunning views of the sacred mountain Jomolhari and Jichu Drake. It is also marked by hundreds of prayer flags fluttering in the wind. Here, visitors can see cascades of wild roses; purple and yellow primulas; and swathes of deep blue iris covering the forest floor. The top of the pass bloom with rhododendrons in a variety of colours-pale pink, deep pink, burnt orange, mauve, white and scarlet.