Rinpung Dzong in Paro, Bhutan
Visit the Main Fortress-monastery of Paro
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About Rinpung Dzong in Paro
Rinpung Dzong is the main fortress-monastery of Paro which houses the monastic body and the governmental and administrative departments in its complex. This is the basic characteristic of any dzong in Bhutan, and Rinpung Dzong of Paro is no exception. It belongs to the Drukpa Lineage of the Kagyu School, and the stories of this place date back to as early as 15th century.
Because of its central importance in the entire district, Rinpung Dzong is simply referred to as the Paro Dzong. Before making a visit to this place, one must know about Paro Dzong and why it plays an important role in the development of Bhutan. The initial structure only had a five-storied dzong and was known as the Hungrel Dzong after the village block, or Gewog – as they call in Bhutan. It was built by Lama Drung Drung Gyal, whose descendants later offered this place in the 17th century as a gift to the great Ngawang Namgyal, the creator of unified Bhutan and the Zhabdrung Rinpoche as well. He ordered reconstruction of the dzong, and it was dismantled and revamped into the current structure.
Inside Paro Rinpung Dzong, there are 14 main shrines that one must see. Most of them are not open to the public, but a glimpse of the architecture and grandeur from the outside is good enough too. The Temple of the Guru Rinpoche Eight Manifestations is an important shrine, so is the Sandalwood Stupa, the Chapel of the Head Lama, Chapel of Amitayus, Chapel of Akshobhya, Temple of Bursar and the Treasure Revealer. The Protector’s Shrine, the Clear Crystal Shrine, Monks’ Assembly Hall and the apartments of the abbots and the king are the other spots worthy of a look.
Other than the history of Paro Dzong and the architectural marvel that it is, the courtyard of the place also hosts the annual Paro Tshechu with lots of folk music, dancing and other live performances – it is quite a lively affair and must not be missed if the trip is in March-April.
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FAQ's of Paro
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Rinpung Dzong was built by the fief-lord Ngawang Namgyal, the creator of unified Bhutan and is now the home of the monastic and administrative body of Paro district. Its importance is in its very purpose.
Ngawang Namgyal rebuilt on foundations of the 15th-century dzong and constructed the current architecture in 1646.
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