Paro Ta Dzong - National Museum of Bhutan
Name: Paro TA-Dzong
Activities: Visit national museum of Bhutan
Theme: Cultural & History
Hike: 2 minutes from car parking
Drive: 3.1 KM (8 Minutes Drive) from Paro Town
Summer: 9am to 5pm
Winter: 9am to 4pm
Perched on the hilltop above the majestic Paro Rinpung Dzong, the National Museum of Bhutan is one of the sacred jewels of Bhutan. The museum functions as the cultural museum of the country and it houses about 3000 Bhutanese specimens of rare arts and artifacts.
Today, the museum serves as the main educational institutions and the tourist hot-spots where one can learn about the ancient Bhutan through the age-old specimens and models. Some of the collections are from the era of 1500 years back.
10 facts to know about the Bhutan's National Museum
1. History and origin of the National Museum
The Ta-Dzong, current National Museum was formerly built as the watch tower for the Rinpung Dzong in 1649 to defend from the inter-valley wars.
It was once the abode of soldiers and also served as the prison for the captives and rivals.
In 1968, under the Royal command of His Majesty the 3rd hereditary King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, the watch tower was converted to National Museum with creation of necessary infrastructures to house about 3000 Bhutanese specimens.
2. Significance of the National Museum
The National Cultural Museum plays a significant role in promotion and preservation of the unique Bhutanese culture and tradition.
The age-old exhibits connects the ancient Bhutan with the modern models and designs. The traditional specimens like earthen vases and utensils, weapons and spiritual items that were once used by our forefathers are present in the Museum.
National Museum is one of the avenues promoting the Gross National Happiness (GNH) through preserving the cultures and histories of Bhutan.
3. Architectural structure of the National Museum
The National Museum is round in shape. This unusual conch shell shape is believed to resemble the union of sun (circular) and moon (crescent) signifying the fame and victory.
The interior has 7 stories each containing the specimens of various themes. The dimensions of the walls are 2.5 meters wide. It is said the National Museum is the only structure that is in shape without using the nails and irons. This gigantic structure is solely made of mud and woods.
4. Museum Gallery of the National Museum
Each of the seven stories of the National Museum contains the specimens of various themes. There are separate section designated for each theme like the section for textiles and handicrafts, natural history, mask gallery, and royal portraits gallery.
It is found that many visitors are interested in the natural history.
One can find the stuffed animals including the National Animal of Bhutan, Takin, various species of birds, white water buffalo and insects.
There is also a collection of various mineral rocks that are found in Bhutan.
In the Royal Portraits Gallery, there are the portraits of the Kings of Bhutan. These portraits aren’t available anywhere in any form.
The stamp gallery is also one of the most reviewed galleries among the foreign visitors. The stamp depicting the mysterious creature called yeti is the thing of amazement.
5. Mule egg as a mystery in National Museum
Often regarded as the 'Star' of museum, the mule egg is the mysterious item preserved in the National Museum.
Although there is no written or other documentation on the origin of the mule egg, Bhutanese believes and takes pride of having such unusual item.
6. Wooden plate of a man who married to a mermaid
Another mystery of the museum is the wooden plate of a man who is believed to have married to a mermaid.
The legend says that the man who was speech impaired was found frequently visiting the river that faces the Wangdi Phodrang Dzong. Later people discovered that the man was making a visit to a mermaid who happens to be his wife.
The wooden plate has no significance to the story but it is well preserved and hence preserving our histories and lets us remember an unusual stories forever.
7. Sightseeing from the National Museum
The location of the National Museum itself is very scenic. It is on the hilltop above the Paro Dzong attracting the attention of all the high way passersby.
Right from the corridor of the National Museum offers the panoramic valley view of the Paro town, adjacent villages and Paro river.
The National Museum mandates the visitors to be in formal dress code. However it is acceptable for the foreign visitors to be in casual pants and shirts, not necessarily the suits and other formal uniforms.
Photography and videography are strictly prohibited inside the Museum. There is a locker at the doorstep where one can keep their belongings.
However you can use your cameras to take pictures of exterior architect and Paro valley views.
Smoking is restricted in the vicinity of the Museum. It is also advisable to maintain silence.
9. How to reach the National Museum
National Museum is located at the distance about 8-minute drive from Paro town. One can take the cab from the town or choose a travel agent to organize the trip.
If you are at Paro Rinpung Dzong, you can choose to walk uphill. It will take about 10-15 minutes to reach to the Museum.
10. Visiting hours and entry fee for National Museum
The National Museum remains open to the visitors all throughout the week except on Mondays and on Public holidays.
- Open - 9am to 5pm
- Ticket counter open till -4:30pm.
- Open from- 9am to 4pm
- Ticket counter open till - 3:30pm
The visitors to the National Museum have to pay a minimal entry fee with the following fee structure:
- Tourist- 500 BTN
- SAARC tourist - 300 BTN
- Local Visitors - 20 BTN
The entry is free for monks, nuns and the children below the age of 10 years.
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