Regd No:35356/1999 Under Act XXI of 1680
The Society for unity of people.
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Kuzu zang pola (Hello) everyone!
The warm days and cool nights
of Autumn are slowly giving way to winter and the peaks of distant
mountains are already covered in sparkling layers of powder soft snow.
During this season the sky is a crystal
clear blue and the warm rays of the sun quickly dispel any lingering
chill. With beautiful sunny days and cozy evenings spent relaxing by a
bonfire late Autumn is one of the best seasons to visit Bhutan.
This month we will be taking a look at one of Bhutan’s most well known destinations, the Paro Dzongkhag (district)!
THE DISTRICT OF PARO (PARO DZONGKHAG)
extends from the confluence of the Paro Chhu and the Wang Chhu rivers
at Chuzom upto Mt. Jomolhari at the Tibetan border to the North.
This picturesque region is one
of the widest valleys in the kingdom and is covered in fertile rice
fields and has a beautiful, crystalline river meandering down the
valley. Accentuating the natural beauty are the many elegant,
traditional-style houses that dot the valley and surrounding hills.
Paro is one of the most
popular destinations in Bhutan and visitors can often spend many days
here. This is because in addition to its picturesque natural beauty,
Paro is also home to over 155 ancient temples and monasteries including
Bhutan’s most iconic temple, Taktsang (The Tiger’s Nest).
WHAT TO SEE
Taktsang Lhakhang is Bhutan’s most iconic landmark and religious site. The name Taktsang translates to “The Tiger’s Nest“.
This temple is one of the most holy sites in the kingdom and clings
impossibly to a sheer cliff face 900 hundred meters above the Paro
It was first built in 1692 at a cave where Guru Rimpoche
meditated in the 7th century A.D. Legend states that Guru Rimpoche flew
to the site atop the back of a tigress and meditated in the cave for 3
years, 3 months, 3 days and 3 hours in order to subdue evil demons
residing within it. The cave has been considered a sacred site ever
since and many famous saints have travelled to meditate in it.
Lhakhang is located approximately 10 km north of Paro town at an
altitude of 3.120 meters. In order to arrive at the temple visitors must
trek for around 2-3 hours through beautiful, shady pine forests. No
trip to Bhutan would be complete without a visit to this remarkable
Drukgyel Dzong means ‘The Fortress of the Victorious Bhutanese‘. It was constructed by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1646
to commemorate his victory over marauding Tibetan armies. It was the foremost defensive fortification against Tibetan invasions.
Though the Dzong
was destroyed by fire in 1951, the massive ruins still retain a measure
of their former grandeur. While in Paro it is highly recommended that
you pay these ruins a visit. The fortress grounds are a popular picnic
spot amongst tourists and locals alike.
The National Museum is set inside a conical watchtower that once helped defend Paro Rinpung Dzong from invasions. The watch tower was built in 1649 by the first governor of Paro.
The tower is uniquely shaped as resembles a conch shell with an internal ascending spiral. In the 1950′s the Third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck proposed that the tower be renovated and converted into a museum.
museum was opened to the public in 1968 and has displayed valuable
historical artifacts and paintings ever since. It plays an invaluable
role in preserving and promoting Bhutan’s rich history and culture.
WHAT TO DO
Paro Tshechu (Annual Religious Festival)
The Annual Paro Tshechu
is undoubtedly one of the popular tshechus in the country. Pilgrims
come all over the country to attend the festival and it is also hugely
popular among the many tourists that visit the country. On the final day
of the three day festival a gigantic Thongdrel (Embroidered Religious
Painting) is unfurled. The thongdrel is so sacred that simply gazing upon it is said to clean away the viewers sins.
The Paro festival features
various masked dances and prayers, some dating back hundreds of years.
However like all tshechus the festival is not only a religious occasion
but also an opportunity for people to relax and spend time with their
families and friends.
A lively, jovial air surrounds
the festivities making it a fun and uniquely Bhutanese experience that
visitors won’t want to miss.
This annual gathering of
Bhutan’s nomadic highlanders bring together the herders of the
northeastern and northwestern Himalayan frontiers in an unforgettable
celebration of their unique culture and traditions.
You’ll gain an intimate
glimpse into the proud communities that have survived virtually
unchanged to this day and form a rich part of Bhutan’s ethnic and
The festival takes place in
Bumthang, the sacred heartland of Bhutan. This region is dotted with
some of the most beautiful and ancient monasteries and temples in the
The two major nomadic tribes
of Bhutan, the Brokpas in the east and the Layaps in the west, inhabit
some of the most rugged terrain in the kingdom. Their economy still
mainly consists of ancient bartering practices and is heavily dependent
upon their yaks and the products they derive from it such as milk,
cheese, wool, meat and leather. In recognition of this interdependency,
the yak features prominently in many of the nomadic festivals and
Chorten Kora Festival (February 2014)
This festival is set in
Trashiyangtse, the eastern most district in Bhutan. The festival is
known as Dakpa Kora and is held on the 15th day of the 3rd month
corresponding to 28th February
and Drukpa Kora (circumbulation by the Bhutanese) is held on the 30th
day corresponding to 15th March every year.
According to legend a young girl from
Tawang, believed to have been a Khando (Dakini) agreed to be buried
alive inside the Chorten. For this reason a ritual known as
Dakpa Kora is organized every
year where hundreds of people from Arunachal Pradesh known as the Dakpas
make it to Chorten Kora to circumambulate.
DID YOU KNOW?
In Bhutan, hot springs are known as Tshachus and
are found all over the Kingdom. The medicinal properties of these hot
springs have been used by the Bhutanese people for centuries to cure
various ailments ranging from arthritis to body aches and even sinuses.
It is a popular tradition among Bhutanese to visit hot springs during the winter months. Learn more at: http://www.tourism.gov.bt/activities/hot-spring-therapy
For further information, please contact:
Tourism Council of Bhutan, India Representative Office C/o Charson Advisory Services Pvt. Ltd. 1104 Arcadia, 11th Floor, NCPA Marg, Nariman Point, Mumbai 400021 – India Tel: 91 (22) 65172273; Fax: 91 (22) 22828835; Email: email@example.comTourism Council of Bhutan Tarayana Centre, Chubachu, Thimphu, Bhutan Tel: 975 2 323251/2 ; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web: www.tourism.gov.bt