Beautiful Dzongs of Paro

Author: Laden Bhutia
Date: 2019-12-05


Drukgyal Dzong 



Drukgyal Dzong in Paro, used to be a fortress and Buddhist monastery in Bhutan. Now in ruins, the Dzong is located in the upper part of the Paro District in Bhutan. According to legend, Tenzin Drukdra built the Dzong in 1649 at the behest of Ngawang Namgyal, Zhabdrung Rinpoche, in order to commemorate Bhutan’s victory over an invasion from Tibet.

In the early 1950s, a fire almost completely destroyed Drukgyal Dzong. This Dzong is listed as a site in Bhutan's Tentative List for UNESCO inclusion.

In 2016, there were three major events in Bhutan. The first one was the birth of The Gyalsey (Crown Prince of Bhutan). Another significant event was the mark of 400 years since the arrival of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel to Bhutan in 1616 AD and the third was that it was the birth year of Guru Rinpoche. In order to commemorate these events, the Prime Minister of Bhutan, Lyonchen Tshering Tobgay announced that the Drukgyal Dzong is going to be rebuilt and reinstated to its former glory. The announcement and ceremony took place a day after the Crown Prince of Bhutan was born.



Rinpung Dzong 



Rinpung Dzong is a large dzong (Buddhist monastery and fortress) of the Drukpa Lineage of the Kagyu school in Paro District, Bhutan. Rinpung Dzong houses the district Monastic Body and government administrative offices of Paro Dzongkhag. Along with Drukgyal Dzong, it is also listed as a tentative site in Bhutan's Tentative List for UNESCO inclusion.

History

In the 15th century, the local people of Bhutan offered the crag of Hungrel to Lama Drung Drung Gyal at Paro, who was a descendant of Pajo Drugom Zhigpo. Drung Drung Gyal ended up building a small temple there and then later a five storied Dzong or fortress, which was well known as Hungrel Dzong.

In the 17th century, the descendants of Drung Drung Gyal, the lords of Hungrel, offered this fortress to the Drukpa hierarch, Ngawang Namgyal, the Zhabdrung Rinpoche, in recognition of his religious and temporal authority. In 1644 the Zhabdrung dismantled the existing dzong and began to lay the foundations of a new dzong. In 1646 the Dzong was reconsecrated and established as the administrative and monastic centre of the western region. It then became known as "Rinpung Dzong".

Some scenes in the 1993 film Little Buddha were filmed in Rinpung Dzong.

There are fourteen shrines and chapels inside Rinpung Dzong -

Kungarwa

Monks' assembly hall

Sandalwood Stupa

Protector's shrine

Temple of the Guru's Eight Manifistations 

Chapel of the head lama

Chapel of Amitayus

The Clear Crystal Shrine

Chapel of the Eleven-faced Avalokiteśvara

Apartments of the Abbot

Chapel of Akshobhya

Temple of the Treasure Revealer

Apartments of the King (Gyalpo'i Zimchung)

Temple of the Bursar

The Deyangkha Temple is outside the main dzong 

There is a seven-storied watchtower fortress or Ta Dzong built in 1649 on the hill above Rinpung Dzong.  In 1968 this was established as the home of the National Museum of Bhutan.

There is also a traditional covered cantilever bridge just below Rinpung Dzong.

Festivals

One of the great annual festivals of Bhutan, the Tshechu is held at Rinpung Dzong from the eleventh to the fifteenth day of the second month of the traditional Bhutanese lunar calendar (which is usually in March or April of the Gregorian calendar). On this occasion in Bhutan, holy images are taken in a procession. This in turn is followed by a series of traditional mask dances that convey religious stories through the dance form. Monks perform these dances for several days.

Before the break of dawn on the morning of the fifteenth day, a great sacred thongdrel banner thangka containing a depiction of the Eight Manifestations of Padmasambhava is displayed for the public. This is done in the early morning hours in order to keep up with the tradition of not allowing sunlight to fall on it.

Gasa Dzong