Paro: more than Tiger’s Nest

Paro is located in the northwestern part of Bhutan. It is one of the most beautiful districts in the country with broad valleys, fresh green lands and fields. It is a place well known for growing red rice and apples amongst others. One will notice the brilliant architecture of Bhutan in the Paro town which is mostly filled with two storied traditional Bhutanese houses while the fortress of Paro, known as the Paro Dzong remains impossible to be overlooked. Paro is more than Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest), the famous monastery that clings to the side of a cliff. It is a place with numerous religious landmarks and home to the only international airport of Bhutan. According to Phub Dorji Wang, before the name Paro originated Paro was known as ‘Padro’ or ‘Pado’. Explaining the meaning of ‘Pa’ Wang shares it is, “‘beautiful’ or ‘ornamental’ as the valley of Paro is considered one of the most beautiful creations of nature.” ‘Dro’ or ‘do’ means homely, enchanting and fertile.

After the Kalela hike, one will be hiking downwards to Ngapa which falls under Lamgong gewog. In this village, one will come across the following iconic landmarks.

Kyichu Lhakhang

Walking through the rice paddies in the cool summer breeze, you will be led to the imperial Kyichu Lhakhang. As you enter the lhakhang compound, you will be welcomed by two orange trees which bear fruits throughout the year (yes even in summer!). In the Buddhist context, such trees are known as ‘Pasamjonshing’ meaning the ‘wish fulfilling tree’ and the tree supposedly grows from the ground and rises to the heavens where it bears all kinds of fruits.

Kyichu lhakhang is one of the oldest temples in Bhutan and was built by Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo of Tibet in the 7th century. Legend has it that along with 108 other monasteries, Kyichu lhakhang was built in one day by the Tibetan King to subdue a demoness. The left foot of the demoness rested at the place where Kyichu lhakhang was built and the right at the site where Jampa lhakhang was built in Bumthang. The prominent relic or statue of Kyichu lhakhang is Jowa (Buddha). According to the locals, it is acknowledged that if one visits Kyichu lhakhang, it is compatible with visiting Lhasa in Tibet. You will also witness the statue of Guru Nangsi Zilnon at the lhakhang which is believed to be the most prepossessing statue of Guru in the world.

Kyichu Lhakhang