Located at a distance of 2km from Paro Airport is the most finest and outstanding dzong of Bhutan, Rinpung Dzong. Rinpung Dzong also known as Paro Dzong is rank as a high point of Bhutanese architecture. The construction of Rinpung Dzong was started in 1644 under the commandment of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal on the foundation of monastery built by Guru Rinpoche. In 1646 Rinpung Dzong was built and established as the administrative and monastic centre of the western region. The name Rinchen Pung Dzong which is usually shortened to Rinpung Dzong means ‘Fortress on a Heap of Jewels’ in Bhutanese language.
Perched at the hillside amidst the lush alpine forest, the gigantic pillars of Rinpung Dzong can be seen from the Paro. During 17th and 18th century Rinpung Dzong defended the quaint kingdom against the invasion from North. The astounding sight of five storeys dzong seen from Paro just shows the glimpse of the magnificent structure. Built with clay instead of stoned Rinpung Dzong survived a massive earthquake in 1897 although it was destroyed by fire in 1906. Rinpung Dzong was rebuilt by the Penlop Dawa Penjor right after the fire. Housed within its walls is a collection of sacred masks and costumes some date back several centuries and others which were recently contributed by Dawa Penjor and his successor Penlop Tshering Penjor. All the treasure of Rinpung Dzong was destroyed in fire and only one thangka, known as Thongdel was saved which was painted in remembrance of Padmasambava, the Guru Rinpoche who introduced Buddhist religion in Bhutan. The Thongdel is a large and exquisite example of the Bhutanese art of fashioning religious scroll paintings from silk and cotton which depicts the Eight Manifestations of Guru Rinpoche. It is believed that by visiting the monastery and paying homage to the Thongdel, the faithful can attain nirvana, making Rinpung Dzong a pilgrim centre for many devotees. Below Rinpung Dzong tourist can see a traditional wooden covered bridge called Nyamai Zam which hover above the meandering Paro Chhu. During the festive season, Rinpung Dzong becomes the venue for tsechu the annual masked dance festival. The vibrant color of prayers flag flanked across the Rinpung Dzong along with the distant chanting of prayer creates an ambiance of ethereal peace.
From being mesmerized by the richly crafted pillars along with the murals adorning the walls of the Dzong to witnessing the grandiose tsechu festival in the courtyards with the backdrop view of Paro valley cuddled on the foothills of lofty mountains, Rinpung Dzong with its magnificence never cease to amaze the travelers.
The serenity of the omnipresent Rinpung Dzong can be relished through the year but tourist should keep the timing of dzong while planning for the visit. Rinpung Dzong’s doors stay open for the tourists from 8am to 6pm for seven days of the week but during winter season November to December the dzong stays open only till 4:30pm.