Perched above Paro Dzong is it's ta dzong (watchtower), built in 1649 to protect the undefended dzong and renovated in 1968 to house the National Museum. The building design is unusual as it is round and has the shape of a conch shell. The stone walls of the building are 2.5 meters wide. In other words, the design also looks like a union of the sun (circular) and the moon (crescent). It is believed that the union symbolizes victory and fame. In the past, Ta dzong also served in housing the soldiers and as well as the prison for rival soldiers.
The ta dzong suffered damage in the 2011 earthquake but is due to reopen in 2016 as the nation's premier museum. Until then a sample of the exhibits are currently on display in an adjacent annex. Displays include an impressive collection of thangkas, both ancient and modern; depicting Bhutan's important saints and teachers, as well as fearsome festival masks grouped according to their tsechu dances. There's a natural-history gallery with a 3D map of Bhutan, while the Heritage Gallery contains such oddities as an egg laid by a mule and a horse horn attributed to Guru Rinpoche, plus a few original iron links from the iron bridge at Tamchhog. An underground tunnel is said to lead from the watchtower to the water supply below.
Ta dzong visiting hours
The museum opens from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm from Tuesday to Saturday and 11:00 am to 4:00 pm on Sundays. Cameras are not allowed inside but we can take pictures of the Ta dzong and the surrounding areas.