Also known as Paro Takstang, Tiger’s nest is one the most recognised spot of Bhutan. The Tiger’s nest monastery is a unique and small collection of buildings, settles on a cliff at a height of 900 metres above the ground and 3120 metres above the sea level in “The Land of The Thunder Dragon”. It is considered one of the most sacred sites amongst the people of Bhutan and is located near Paro in Bhutan. Constructed in 1692, this monastery has interesting story about its history.
As the legends say, Guru Padmasambhava, popularly known as Guru Rinpoche, was a Brahmin Royal who spread Tantric Buddhism through Bhutan and Tibet in the 700s and is seen in thoe areas as very holy person. He travelled to Bhutan and sanctified it in the 8th century when the land lingered with evil spirits and caused harm to people. Also called ‘Second Buddha’, Guru Rinpoche flew to this cliff on the back of a tiger and meditated here in the cave for three years, three months, three days and three hours in order to summon the evil spirits. This was the event that lead to the introduction of Buddhism in Bhutan.
Legends apart, this site will leave you mesmerised and speechless as the views from up here are astonishing. Currently, this monastery comprises of four temples with residing facilities only for the monks. Despite being the popular tourist site and being visited regularly by tourists, Paro Takstang still functions as a monastery even today.
Due to its location, the only way to reach the Monastery is by conducting a hike. No vehicle will take you up there. At most, one can hire a horse to take you up the Monastery if the person is not willing or comfortable in hiking.
The hike starts right at the car park, at the bottom of the mountain. You can also hire a horse from this spot. After clearing the trees that surrounds the parking lot, you’ll get the first glance of the Tiger’s Nest, perched on the cliff, high on the valley floor. From here, it takes up to 2-3 hours to reach the monastery. There’s a cafeteria on the halfway of the trek where you can just eat and relax for few minutes before moving ahead as the second half of the trek is comparatively easier, the trail is less steep and gets less monotonous as you reach near the Monastery.
Upon reaching the monastery, one can enter the tiger’s nest and climb up the several levels within, take a tour of the three temples and grasp the unreal view. The return journey is much faster filled with equal excitement.