Ta Dzong is a museum located on a hill behind the Paro Dzong region. It is a historical museum, housed on a 17th-century watchtower which allows beautiful panoramic view across the Paro valley. The museum was opened in the year 1968, and its famous collections are bronzes, paintings, and fine art. Also, there is a section of stuffed animals, butterflies, handicrafts, jewelry, and textiles all from Bhutan. In the stamp section, there is an excellent display of triangular, embossed, silken, record, and 3-D stamps. Its unusual round shape which resembles a conch shell makes the museum more attractive to both local and foreign visitors.
Considering that Buddhism is a widespread religion in Bhutan, this museum houses fearsome festival masks and carvings of important teachers and saints from the region. There are also some oddities in the heritage gallery such as a horse horn, and an egg claimed to have been laid by a mule. Also, a few ancient iron links from the Tamchhog iron bridge are housed in the museum which makes it an important historical destination. There is an underground tunnel connecting the museum with Pachhu River which was used to supply water to the tower during the war. Exploring this tunnel add adventurous experiences for the visitors and also creates a feeling of mystery.
Structure Building and Renovation
Notably, the museum structure had been uninhabited for an extended period especially when Dzong state was weak and on the verge of collapse. However, during the reign of King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, the father of modern Bhutan, a complete renovation of the museum was ordered, and the structure was inhabited again. Interestingly, the original structure of the museum was designed using wood and stone without any single nail. Regardless, the structure is stable and very strong and has stood the test of time especially by surviving the 1714 and 1896 earthquakes.
However, despite its sturdy foundation, the renovated parts of the tower could not stand the 2011 earthquake which had a magnitude of 6.9. The museum suffered an extensive damage and about 3,000 antique artifacts had to be moved to a temporary hall in front of the main tower. Renovation of the museum began immediately after all the artifacts were relocated and is scheduled to complete on September 2018 after which the museum will be re-opened.
Accessing the Museum
Access to the museum involves driving through a 4-kilometre loop into Dop Shari valley. While at the museum, one can easily access the town by walking down a path which passes through dzong along which you get to enjoy excellent views of the valley and also the Ugyen Pelri palace. If you love having fun, excellent hikes to the Zuri Dzong hill will be an exciting activity.
In a nutshell, Ta Dzong museum is an exciting and historic structure which houses thousands of historical artifacts. The museum stands on a landmark tower dating back to the 17th century which makes it an essential part of Bhutan's culture. There is no record of the initial architect of this historic tower, but the building is very strong considering it didn't collapse during the 1714 earthquake which lasted for 15 days. Considering all the above features, it is worthwhile to visit Ta Dzong Museum during your next Bhutan trip.