Paro, Bhutan: In the heart of the Himalayas
Paro is a historic small town in western Bhutan. It is located at an altitude of around 2,400 kilometers and has a population of around 15,000. The city has an enormous wealth of sacred places and historical buildings that are scattered all over the area. In addition, the green Paro Valley is one of the most beautiful in all of Bhutan. Paro is the ideal travel destination for people who love nature and appreciate the peaceful tranquility of a place that touches the soul. Despite the uninviting concrete buildings and the hustle and bustle that prevails in the bazaar, Paro, together with Punakha and Jakar, is part of the “Golden Triangle” of Bhutan’s most popular tourist destinations. The main street with its traditional wooden constructions impresses with its simplicity,
History of Paro
In the 17th century there were numerous conflicts between Tibet and Bhutan. Due to its location, Paro played a strategically important role. In the 19th century, the vault played an important role in internal political conflicts over power in Bhutan.
Today Paro is mainly characterized by its economic contribution to the country. Paros is based on fertile soil on which rice, potatoes and apples are grown.
Tourism is also economically important for the city and region.
Numerous sights in and around Paro delight travelers.
Among them is Taktshang, the tiger’s nest monastery from the 8th century, perched on the edge of a 1,200 meter high cliff. It is a sacred place for meditation. In 1998 a tragic fire destroyed most of the original buildings, which have since been restored. The sight of Taktshang is breathtaking. It is therefore not surprising that the monastery is the unofficial symbol of Bhutan. The monastery can be reached with a two to three hour mountain hike. Halfway there is a café inviting tired hikers to rest and have refreshments and small snacks. The hike can be very strenuous, which is why it is advisable for people who are less fit and suffer from altitude to rent a horse that will take you up the mountain.
Also not to be missed is the Ta Dzong National Museum, which is located in a former watchtower. Numerous artifacts from the history of Bhutan can be found here. Drukyel Dzong, about 15 kilometers from Paro, is the ruin of a monastery fortress built in the 16th century to commemorate a victory over the Tibetan troops. Today the fortress is in ruins – the elements and a fire that broke out in the 1950s have taken their toll.
Drakhapo is another monastery complex perched on a cliff.
Also of note is Kyichu Lhakhang, a 7th century Buddhist temple. It is one of 108 monasteries that were built by King Songten Gampo – and – according to legend – miraculously in just one night.
Jangsarbu Lhakhang is a small, seemingly insignificant temple that is home to an impressive Buddha statue. Legend has it that the statue of Sakyamuni was not actually intended for the temple, but should only be kept there. However, when it came time to move the statue again, it proved too heavy to lift. It is therefore still owned by Jangsarbu Lhakang to this day.