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Paro Jong taken from S.E [Bhutan]

Paro Jong taken from S.E [Bhutan]

Photographer: White, John Claude

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1905

Shelfmark: Photo 20/(4)

Item number: 4

Length: 24

Width: 29.3

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Photograph

Photograph of the Dzong at Paro in Bhutan taken by John Claude White in 1905. This photograph also appears in The National Geographic Magazine (Apr 1914), with the following caption: 'This view shows the citadels of Paro Jong to advantage, and on the right the drawbridge to the only entrance. I noticed old catapults for throwing great stones carefully stored in the rafters of the veranda'. White stated in his article, 'Paro is a very large and striking building, protected on the one side by the River Pa-chu, spanned by a substantial bridge on the cantilever principle, covered with a roof to protect the timber...the only entrance is from the hillside above the third story, the lower stories being used entirely as storehouses for grain, etc.' This is one of a set of photographs documenting White's mission to Bhutan to invest Ugyen Wangchuk, the Penlop (Governor) of Trongsa, with the order of Knight Commander of the Indian Empire. The magnificent Paro Dzong, overlooking the Paro Chhu river from its hilltop, is one of Bhutan's strongest and most important fortresses, and repelled several attacks from Tibet. Bhutan developed a particular type of architecture: the fortified monastery or dzong. Such fortresses were frequently regional administrative centres as well as housing the monastic community. The Paro dzong is a typical example, with a tall central tower housing the temples and the assembly hall. The Penlop or Governor of Paro was a leader amid the feuding factions of Bhutan's chieftains in the 19th century, a rival to the powerful Penlop of Trongsa who eventually established sovereignty over the country.

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