Heap of Jewels - fortress

The construction of the Paro Dzong began in 1644 on the order of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. Paro Dzong’s full name is Ringpung Dzong, which means ‘heap of jewels - fort’. In 15th century, two brothers Gyelchok and Gyelzom, descendents of Phajo (the founder of Drukpa Kagyu in Bhutan), lived in the valley. Gyelchok left for Tibet to study theology and when he returned, moved to Humrelkha and built a small structure that would later become the Paro Dzong. Gyelchok’s descendants, who controlled a large portion of the valley, were known as Lords of Humrelkha. In 1645, the Lords of Humrelkha relinquished their small fort to Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, recognizing his religious and political prowess. Immediately, Zhabdrung began construction of a much more superior fortress and in 1646, the Dzong was consecrated. It is approached by a gently sloping flagstone road and an attractive wooden bridge, roofed with shingles. Like most Dzongs, Rinphung is the administrative seat of the district of Paro, and also houses state monastic community of about 200 members.
Administrative offices line the first courtyard of the Dzong. The Utse (tower) of the Dzong is one of the most beautiful in Bhutan with its outstanding woodwork. In 1905 the Dzong caught fire, but was repaired in 1908/9 to its original state with the addition of statues of Guru Rinpoche, Buddha and the Zhabdrung. The most precious object of the Dzong, is the Thongdroel, a 20×20 meter wide Thangka –applique work. It was saved from the fire and is annually displayed to public during the Paro Tshechu Festival.