Rinpung Dzong, Paro. photo by: Keith Mason
|Location||Paro, Paro District, Bhutan|
|Founded by||Drung Drung Gyal|
|Date renovated||1644 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal|
|Festivals||Tsechu , in 2nd lunar month|
|Also known as Paro Dzong|
In the 15th century local people offered the crag of Hungrel at Paro to Lama Drung Drung Gyal, a descendant of Pajo Drugom Zhigpo. Drung Drung Gyal built a small temple there and later a five storied Dzong or fortress which was known as Hungrel Dzong.
In the 17th century, his descendants, the lords of Hungrel, offered this fortress to the Drukpa hierarch Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, in recognition of his religious and temporal authority. In 1644 the Shabdrung dismantled the existing Dzong and laid the foundations of a new Dzong. In 1646 the Dzong was reconsecrated and established as the administrative and monastic centre of the western region and it became known as Rinpung Dzong.
Shrines and Chapels
Inside Rinpung Dzong are fourteen shrines and chapels:
- Dukhang - or monks assembly hall
- Tseden Chöten (sandlwood stupa) shrine
- Protector's shrine
- Temple of the Guru's Eight Manifistations (གུ་རུ་མཚན་རྒྱད་ལྷ་ཁང)
- Chapel of the head Lama
- Chapel of Amitayus
- The Clear Crystal Shrine
- Chapel of the Eleven-faced Avalokiteshvara
- Apartments of the Abbot
- Chapel of Akshobya Buddha
- Temple of the Treasure Revealer
- Apartments of the King (Gyalpo'i Zimchung)
- Temple of the Bursar
Outside the main Dzong there is the Deyangkha Lhakhang.
On the hill above Rinpung Dzong is a seven storied the watchtower fortress or Ta Dzong built in 1649. In 1968 this was established as the home of the National Museum of Bhutan.
Just below Rinpung Dzong is a traditional covered cantilever bridge.
A great annual festival or tsechu is held at Rinpung Dzong from the eleventh to the fifteenth day of the second month of the traditional Bhutanese lunar calendar (usually in March or April of the Gregorian calendar). On this occasion, holy images are taken in a procession. This is followed by a series of traditional mask dances conveying religious stories which are performed by monks for several days. Before the break of dawn on the morning of the fifteenth day, a great sacred Tongdrol banner depicting the Eight Manifestations of Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava)is displayed for the public in the early morning hours, to keep to the tradition of not allowing sunlight to fall on it.
- Lopon Kunzang Thinley (2008) p.4
- Dasho Sangay Dorji (2008) p.166
- Lopon Kunzang Thinley (2008) p.5
- Ardussi, John A. (1999). "Gyalse Tenzin Rabgye and the Founding of Taktsang Lhakhang" (pdf). Journal of Bhutan Studies (Thimphu: Centre for Bhutan Studies) 1 (1): 28. Retrieved 2010-03-12.
- "The Paro Tsechu". Retrieved 2010-03-07.
- "The Paro Tsechu – the Thondrol of Guru Rincpoche". Retrieved 2010-03-07.
- Dorji, Sangay (Dasho); Kinga, Sonam (translator) (2008). The Biography of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal: Pal Drukpa Rinpoche. Thimphu, Bhutan: KMT Publications. ISBN 99936-22-40-0.
- Thinley, Lopon Kunzang; KMT Research Group (2008). Seeds of Faith: A Comprehensive Guide to the Sacred Places of Bhutan. Volume 1. Thimphu: KMT Publications. ISBN 99936-22-41-9.