“The more you know about the past, the better prepared you are for the futures.”-Theodore Roosevelt. Located above the sacred Rinpung Dzong of Paro Valley is the ancient Ta Dzong which houses the famous National Museum of Bhutan. The cylindrical or conch shaped building of Ta Dzong was built in 1649 C.E. by the first Governor of Paro, Langonpa Tendzin Drukpa the half brother of the Zhabdrung as a watchtower to protect the undefeated Paro Dzong. National Museum of Bhutan is a cultural museum situated in the western side of the Bhutan in Paro. National Museum of Bhutan was established within the renovated walls of Ta Dzong in 1968 under the command of His Majesty, the king Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, the third hereditary monarch of Bhutan.
The building of National Museum of Bhutan which was the former watch tower of Paro Dzong offers astounding panoramic vista of the adjacent hills and Paro valley to the visitors which is an added charm of visiting the museum. When it was functioning as a watch tower, the building not only housed soldiers but also prisoners of war .The seven storeys building of National Museum has six floors of exhibits. Each exhibit provides a better display and is categorized in various sections such as anthropology, arms and armor, pre-history, manuscript, paintings, textiles, bronzes, decorative arts, philatelic items, epigraphic items and numismatics. The Museum also has secondary exhibition space in a modern building behind the main building. On the ground floor there is a flexible gallery space for visiting and rotating exhibits. A visit through the galleries shows the country’s transition from the Stone Age to a modern Mahayanist Buddhist and multicultural kingdom with its cultural heritage intact. Apart from housing over 3,000 works of Bhutanese art, covering more than 1,500 years of Bhutan's cultural heritage, National Museum also a gallery with the specimen of flora and fauna found in Bhutan. The star attraction of the museum is such as the horse-egg, horn, 12th century arrow head and a 1000 year old statue. The horse-egg is one of the most precious objects which were gifted to the museum in 1969. This horse-egg is believed to have originated from a horse in Trashiyangtse which is made up of unknown substance. From housing the finest collection of ivory collection to the thangkas depicting the evolution of Bhutanese culture and tradition, a visit to National Museum of Bhutan can be an eye opening experience for the tourist who wants to learn about the Bhutan of pre historic era.
Taking a stroll around the thick stoned wall of Ta dzong or passing by the many galleries housing ancient and valuable artifact, National Museum of Bhutan with its vast collections of educational and religious artifact and awe-inspiring vista of Paro Valley has become a paradise for the nature lover and historian traveling to Bhutan.
National Museum of Bhutan stays open from 9am to 4pm except Monday and national holidays. On Sunday the museum open from 11 am to 4pm. During winter November to February tourist should note that the museum closes one hour earlier than usual time.