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Rinpung Dzong

Coordinates: 27°25′36″N 89°25′23.89″E / 27.42667°N 89.4233028°E / 27.42667; 89.4233028
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Rinpung Dzong
Rinpung Dzong
Rinpung Dzong, Paro.
AffiliationTibetan Buddhism
SectDrukpa Lineage of Kagyu
FestivalsTsechu, in 2nd lunar month
LocationParo, Bhutan
Rinpung Dzong is located in Bhutan
Rinpung Dzong
Location within Bhutan
Geographic coordinates27°25′36″N 89°25′23.89″E / 27.42667°N 89.4233028°E / 27.42667; 89.4233028
StyleBhutanese Dzong
FounderDrung Drung Gyal
Date established15th century
Also known as Paro Dzong
view of Rinpung Dzong from Tenchen Choeling Nunnery

Rinpung Dzong, sometimes referred to as Paro Dzong, is a large dzong - Buddhist monastery and fortress - of the Drukpa Lineage of the Kagyu school in Paro District, Bhutan. It houses the district Monastic Body as well as government administrative offices of Paro Dzongkhag. It is listed as a tentative site in Bhutan's Tentative List for UNESCO inclusion.



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.[1]

In the 17th century, his descendants, the lords of Hungrel, offered this fortress to the Drukpa hierarch, Ngawang Namgyal, the Zhabdrung Rinpoche, in recognition of his religious and temporal authority. In 1644 the Zhabdrung dismantled the existing dzong and laid the foundations of a new dzong.[2] 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".[3] During the reign of the 23rd Penlop Dawa Penjor the Fortress caught fire (before the first king Gongsa Ugyen Wangchuck was enthroned)[4] and all the important relics and statues were burnt, except for the Thongdrel (20x20 metre-wide).[5] Paying homage to the Thongdrel it is believed that the faithful can attain Nirvana.[6]

Some scenes in the 1993 film Little Buddha were filmed in this dzong.[citation needed] .According to the history of Paro Dzong, written by Drungchen Dasho Sangay Dorji, the rock face below the dzong was named 'Ringpung' by Guru Rinpoche in the eighth century, hence when the dzong was later built here, it came to be known as 'Ringpung Dzong'.[7]

Shrines and chapels

Rinpung Dzong and Nemi Zam bridge at sunset

Inside Rinpung Dzong are fourteen shrines and chapels:

  1. Kungarwa
  2. Monks' assembly hall
  3. Sandalwood Stupa
  4. Protector's shrine
  5. Temple of the Guru's Eight Manifistations (Dzongkha: གུ་རུ་མཚན་རྒྱད་ལྷ་ཁང)
  6. Chapel of the head lama
  7. Chapel of Amitayus
  8. The Clear Crystal Shrine
  9. Chapel of the Eleven-faced Avalokiteśvara
  10. Apartments of the Abbot
  11. Chapel of Akshobhya
  12. Temple of the Treasure Revealer
  13. Apartments of the King (Gyalpo'i Zimchung)
  14. Temple of the Bursar

Outside the main dzong is the Deyangkha Temple.

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 tshechu 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 thongdrel banner thangka depicting the Eight Manifestations of Padmasambhava, (Guru Pema Jungney, Guru Nima Yoezer, Guru singye dradrong, Guru tshoki Dorji, Guru shacha singye, Guru pema gyelpo, Guru dorji dolo, and Guru lodan Chokse)[4] is displayed for the public in the early morning hours, to keep to the tradition of not allowing sunlight to fall on it.[8][9][10] The ground on which the monks perform the mask dance is called Deyangkha.[4]


  1. ^ Lopon Kunzang Thinley (2008) p.4
  2. ^ Dasho Sangay Dorji (2008) p.166
  3. ^ Lopon Kunzang Thinley (2008) p.5
  4. ^ a b c Phun-tshogs-bkra-shis; Phun-tshogs-bkra-śis, Mkhan-po (2011). Invoking happiness: guide to the sacred festivals of Bhutan & Gross National Happiness (1. publ ed.). Thimphu: Khenpo Phuntshok Tashi. ISBN 978-99936-777-3-4.
  5. ^ Bstan-vdzin-rnam-rgyal, ed. (2008). Dzongs of Bhutan: fortresses of the Dragon kingdom (2. ed.). Thimphu: Bhutan Times. ISBN 978-99936-705-2-0.
  6. ^ Varnham, Mary (1979). Bhutan Himalayan Kingdom. USA: The Royal Government of the kingdom of the Bhutan. p. 44.
  7. ^ Seeds of faith. 1. Thimphu: KMT Publ. 2008. ISBN 978-99936-22-42-0.
  8. ^ Ardussi, John A. (1999). "Gyalse Tenzin Rabgye and the Founding of Taktsang Lhakhang" (pdf). Journal of Bhutan Studies. 1 (1). Thimphu: Centre for Bhutan Studies: 28. Retrieved 12 March 2010.
  9. ^ "The Paro Tsechu". Retrieved 7 March 2010.
  10. ^ "The Paro Tsechu – the Thondrol of Guru Rincpoche". Retrieved 7 March 2010.


  • Dorji, Sangay (Dasho) (2008). The Biography of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal: Pal Drukpa Rinpoche. Kinga, Sonam (trans.). 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.