Bhutan is the realm of culture and traditions. The country’s geographical isolation has favored in preserving its authenticity. The mysterious country of mountains, magic, and monasteries carries the myths and legends that have intrigued the curious explorers from the worldwide. The country’s ancient grandeur can be seen in the preserved forms in the monasteries, Dzongs, and museums. One such Bhutan sightseeing place is National Museum of Paro in western Bhutan. So, while on your trip to Paro Bhutan, do not forget to add National museum on your unmissable things to do in Paro Bhutan. So, here are the compelling facts about National Museum of Bhutan–
1. Ta Dzong, a former watchtower:
Ta Dzong is the National Museum of Bhutan. It is a cultural museum and is located above Paro Ringpung Dzong. The meaning of “Ta Dzong” is “Watchtower”. Actually, it was built to serve as a fortress and a watchtower in order to protect Paro Ringpung Dzong.
2. Ta Dzong was built in the 16th century:
Ta Dzong was established in 1649 by the first Penlop or governor of Paro. Ta Dzong served as a watchtower and protected Ringpung Dzong from all the invasions.
3. The resemblance of sun and the moon, signifying victory:
Ta Dzong is round in shape and it has 7 floors. The design of the building is unique as it is circular and has the shape of a conch shell. The dimensions of the stone walls of the tower are 2.5 meters wide. The structure of the building also resembles the union of the sun (circular) and the moon (crescent). This union is believed to be the epitome of fame and victory.
4. Accommodation and the prison:
Formerly, Ta Dzong served as the accommodation to Bhutanese soldiers. On the other hand, it also served as a prison for the captives or rival soldiers at the same time.
5. Restoration and declaration of the National Museum:
Under the command of His Majesty, King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, Ta Dzong was officially reopened and reconstructed as the museum in 1968.
6. Preserver and promoter of GNH:
As a National Museum, Ta Dzong support in contributing to one of the 4 pillars of Gross National Happiness (GNH), by being as a promoter and preserver of Bhutanese cultural values, lifestyles, and architectures.
–Contents and elements of the National Museum-Ta Dzong, Paro Bhutan:
The museum has various galleries which excellently features various preserved classifications such as pre-history, anthropology, manuscript, textiles, paintings, decorative arts, bronzes, epigraphic items, philatelic items, and numismatics, and more.
7. Star of the Museum (Abstract):
One of the mysterious and intriguing items that are preserved in the National Museum is am the egg of a mule. Many doubts and questions arise in our mind that whether the mule had really laid an egg, but for the Bhutanese, it has been awe-inspiring to have preserved such a precious thing kept in National Museum. There is no any written record of its origin, its existence has been basically gathered from the oral history from those who were aware of it the best.
8. Ground Floor (Farming Implements, vessels, and pots):
Number of large vessels and farming implements are lined up near the exit on the ground floor. These tools are basically used for cooking food and storing water for massive gatherings. The large vessels of copper and bronze were used by wealthy families.
9. First Floor (Arms and Armour, Cane and Bamboo Products):
First floor features both modern and traditional weapons such as; swords, cannons, guns, and bows and arrows. The guns in the first room were the gifts from the foreign diplomats to the third and fourth kings of Bhutan on the occasion of their respective coronations. Other weapons of war on exhibition are rifles, knives, swords, shields, and helmets.
10. Second Floor (Natural History and Ritual objects on display):
Third Floor (Zhabdrung Gallery, Numismatic evidences, Clothing and Jewelry collection), Fourth Floor ( Prehistoric and Religious Items), Fifth Floor (The Chapel of the Wealth Deity and Thangkas, i.e., scroll; paintings on cloth), Sixth Floor ( The Chapel of the Tree of Merit and Bhutanese Stamps). So, come and see for yourself the elements that favor the myths and legends, which contradict with modernity.
11. National Museum, Ta Dzong visiting hours:
The opening hour of National Museum is from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm from Tuesday to Saturday, and 11:00 am to 4:00 pm on Sundays. Photography is strictly prohibited inside the museum, but you can take pictures of the Ta Dzong and its premises.
12. How to reach Ta Dzong from Paro:
You can either drive to the museum from the town, or you can walk to the museum. It will take about 20 minutes walk from downtown Paro.