Formerly known for being the meeting hall for the National Assembly, this dzong now houses the monastic body and the region’s government offices, including courthouses. Most parts of Paro Dzong are closed to tourists, but even looking at it from outside is worth a visit, if you are staying at a Bhutan luxury hotel close to the site, for example, the COMO Uma Paro. Dzong also goes by the name Rinpung Dzong among the locals.
Paro Dzong was constructed in 1644, following the orders of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, on the site of a monastery built by Guru Rinpoche. A few invasion attempts by Tibet failed with the help of the fort’s defence. During the earthquake in 1897, the fort stood strong but was destroyed by a fire in 1907.
Built on the steep side of a hill, the courtyard in the front of the monastery is 6 metres higher than the actual monastery. Intricately carved wood, the use of gold, ochre and black paint and the strong white walls gives the fort a sense of intimidating power and royalty.
Paro Dzong is open every day, but on weekends, the place is quite deserted as the offices and chapels are closed.
Roland Lefevre is a travel writer who specializes in creating features on leisure as well as business travel destinations across the globe. Google+