Paro is a small town nestled in the mountains, with great historical significance. It is a land of some of the oldest monasteries of Bhutan and magnificent Dzong. I spent two days in Paro, mostly walking, trekking and eating.
How to Reach Paro:
There are frequent buses from Thimpu to Paro and are the cheapest mode of conveyance. I opted for a shared taxi and it was inexpensive. It took two hours, and I was in Paro. The roads between Thimpu and Paro are better as compared to other places. Think about taking 11 hours ride for a distance of almost 190 KMs (Yes!! I took a bus from Thimpu to Trongsa and it took 11 hours, and that’s a story for some other day).
It is one of the oldest and undoubtedly one of the most beautiful temples. Built in the 7th century, this temple was visited by Padmasambhava (Spiritual leader of Bhutan Buddhism). I decided to walk 5 KM instead of taking a taxi, it took me one hour to reach the temple. If you are one of those who loves walking, then follow the Paro river, as it runs parallel to the road. Notice the furrows in the farms which make many symmetrical patterns, all in the lap of mighty mountains, prevailing as far as you can see.
I will honestly admit that I was not expecting the dzong to be so majestic. It is huge and marvelous, built entirely with stones. It was destroyed by fire some 100 years ago and was rebuilt. It serves as an administrative block and a monastery. I was in awe all the time. As soon as you enter, you will be enchanted by intricated murals painted on the walls. There were stories from Hindu Mythology colorfully depicted on the walls. It is imperative to do a guide and understand the stories, architecture, and history, an important way to connect to a place.
National Museum of Bhutan
An ancient watch tower which has been converted to serve as the National Museum. It covers more than 1500 years of Bhutan’s cultural heritage.
Taktsang Monastery ( Tiger Nest)
A shrine of religious significance to the people of Bhutan. Mythology says that Guru Rinpoche flew to this place from Tibet on the back of a tigress. The first temple was built in the 17th century. The temple has been destroyed by fire more than once, but it still stands there on the edge of a 1000-meter high cliff.
I started at 6:30 am in the morning from my hotel. The climb took close to 4 hours. We spent an hour visiting all the temples. I got talking to a monk who knew English and briefed me on the deities and their significance. It took us 2 hours to climb down.
You can find more pictures on my Instagram channel
Streets and Food
Paro is one of those places where houses are still painted with the religious symbols, Exploring the town in the evening is a must. Ditch the main street and take a diversion to a street running parallel to the main street. I spent three hours each day, roaming the streets, eating Poori with Mushroom datshi and Eze, a bowl of rice with dry potato curry to Koka noodles and momos. More choices and experiences await you if you excuse the path which others take.
If you plan to spend more than two days in Paro, then a visit to Haa Valley or Durkyal Dzong can be an option. I opted to spend one extra day in Jakar, so could not visit Haa Valley.
Let me know of your experiences and places that you have visited in Paro in the comments section.