Rinpung Dzong, Paro
Rinpung Dzong is a large Drukpa Kagyu Buddhist monastery and fortress in Paro District in Bhutan. It houses the district Monastic Body and government administrative offices of Paro Dzongkhag.
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.
In the 17th century, his descendants, the lords of Hungrel, offered this fortress to the Drukpa hierarch Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, in recognition of his religious and temporal authority. In 1644 the Shabdrung dismantled the existing Dzong and laid the foundations of a new Dzong. 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.
Some scenes in the 1993 film Little Buddha were filmed in this Dzong.
Inside Rinpung Dzong are fourteen shrines and chapels:
Dukhang – or monks assembly hall
Tseden Chöten (sandlwood stupa) shrine
Temple of the Guru’s Eight Manifistations
Chapel of the head Lama
Chapel of Amitayus
The Clear Crystal Shrine
Chapel of the Eleven-faced Avalokiteshvara
Apartments of the Abbot
Chapel of Akshobya Buddha
Temple of the Treasure Revealer
Apartments of the King (Gyalpo’i Zimchung)
Temple of the Bursar
Outside the main Dzong there is the Deyangkha Lhakhang.
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 tsechu 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 Tongdrol banner depicting the Eight Manifestations of Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava)is displayed for the public in the early morning hours, to keep to the tradition of not allowing sunlight to fall on it.