Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A tour through time. The National Museum of Bhutan.

 
The National Museum of Bhutan is housed in a circular building that was once the watchtower for Rinpung Dzong. The museum was started in 1968 with a modest collection of Bhutanese heritage treasures.  Over the years and after several renovations, the museum has accumulated objects from different parts of the country and is today a storehouse of Bhutan's cultural and traditional treasures. The gallery has over thirteen galleries located on 5 floors.


As always, we got dropped off at a parking lot nearby and walked to the museum's entrance.  Tenzing got our entry tickets and as expected, photography was not permitted inside so we had to check our belongings at the security desk.  We then ascended a set of stone steps and crossed a bridge to make our way inside.

Surprisingly, there's quite a bit to see inside the museum and it's all extremely well presented and well described.  Each of the museum's five floors housed a different collection or collections of items.  I think my favorite ended up being the collection of Buddha statues. 

Layout of the 2nd floor.


We entered the museum on the 2nd floor.  The interior layout of the museum is quite confusing though I have to say that that actually added to the fun of the visit.  It's hard to explain....you actually have to see it for yourself to really appreciate it.

Following Tenzing's directions (and I would have been lost without him), we made our way up to the 6th floor before coming back down to see the lower two floors. 

Each floor of the museum has a unique layout.  On some floors, you walk around the complete circle in one direction as was the case with the 2nd floor. 





For other floors, the floor gently spiral upwards to meet the next floor up.  So, you start 1st floor and as you walk around, you eventually end up on the ground floor below.  'In some of the galleries, there were adjacent rooms holding special collections.  Sometimes, you just entered the room off the main wing.  Other times, you actually had to go up a short flight of stairs to enter the room.   Connecting stairs were never located in the same place so sometimes it took a bit of effort to figure out how to get to the next floor :-)  Tenzing managed to keep ahead of the group and shepherded us in the right directions.




The ground floor led to the exit and once out, I found myself standing in front of a spectacular view of the Paro Valley.  Seeing this vista was the perfect touch to cap off a visit to wonderful little museum that showcased Bhutan's heritage treasures.