Paro Valley, Bhutan

The Bewitching Paro Valley

Author: Moromee Das
Date: 2020-09-16

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Where the earth exudes innocence and the sky showers radiance, such that you are lost, not in the place but in the very idea of your existence, thinking if you were born to be here, just to devour the beauty of the creator. Bhutan is just that and everything else that heaven would resemble.

And one fragment of that heaven is— Paro Valley.

Located at a distance of 1 hour from Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan, Paro is a must-visit place for anyone planning a trip to Bhutan. 

How to Reach the Valley
The Paro International Airport is well connected to the major cities of many countries and is also at a mere distance of 6 km from the city. Bagdogra Airport in West Bengal is another airport from where you can take a connecting flight to Paro, in case there are no direct flights.

Another mode to reach here is by road on buses and private/hired vehicles with proper passes if you are entering from India. However, Bhutan is a hilly region and sits in the foothills and lower mountains of the Himalayas; hence, the roads run along valleys and through high mountain passes. Most of them are not made of asphalt and often dangerous. So, for travelers who are not used to long journeys on bumpy roads, it’s better to take a flight to Paro.

Places of Interest 
Paro is a perfect blend of the contemporary and the traditional. Right from hosting some of the oldest temples and monasteries to providing the perfect landscape for some of the current trending sports activities like mountain biking and trekking, Paro has it all. 

1. Tiger’s Nest (Taktsang Goemba)
Built in the year 1692, this monastery is located at the edge of a cliff. Watching it from a distance itself is a wonder, let alone the pristine experience of trekking till there. You need to start the ascent early so that you reach before lunchtime (it’s closed during that time). It usually takes 2-3 hours to trek till there. 

The name “Tiger’s Nest” is derived from folklore that says that a legend flew to this place on a Tiger’s back. However, as unbelievable as the story may sound, the location and the architecture of the place will compel you to believe it.

Tiger’s Nest, Paro Valley

2. Paro Dzong (Rinpung Dzong)
Built, destroyed, and then rebuilt, this dzong or the fortress (15 km from the Tiger’s Nest) has multiple folklores attached to it. On the hill above the dzong stands an ancient watchtower that has been, since 1967, the National Museum of Bhutan. The famous Paro Tsechu (one of the biggest festivals in Bhutan) is held at Paro Dzong every year around March or April. It’s a grand celebration that goes on for 4 days and ends with the unfurling of a giant thongdrel (largest form of thangka painting). It is believed that just by viewing the thongdrel, a person can cleanse himself from all his sins.