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Paro Dzong

Paro Dzong, also named Rinpung Dzong which means “fortress on a heap of jewels”, is one of Bhutan's most impressive and well-known dzongs. It overlooks the Paro Valley that the massive buttressed walls are visible all over the valley. It was established at the beginning of the 10th century, got rebuilt in 1646, and served as an effective defense against invasion attempts by the Tibetans for centuries. It houses a collection of exquisite sacred masks and costumes.

Built on a steep hillside, Parp Dzong is a good example of Bhutanese architecture. The richly carved wood, painted in gold, black and ochres, and the towering whitewashed walls reinforce the sense of established power and wealth. Through the front courtyard and the central tower, there is monastic quarter which houses about 200 monks. The large prayer hall opposite has lovely exterior murals depicting the life of Tibet's poet-saint Milarepa. Outside the dzong is a stone-paved area where masked dancers perform the main dances of the Tsechu. Below the dzong stands a traditional wooden covered bridge where the most picturesque pictures of Paro Dzong are taken from the west bank of the river, just downstream from it.

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