Paro Taktsang clings precariously to the cliffs in Upper Paro Valley of Bhutan, 10,000 feet above sea level. This Buddhist sacred site is where it is believed the “second Buddha” meditated. Famously called “Tiger’s Nest,” visitors need to take a 2-3−hour climb from the valley floor to reach the entrance of the monastery.
HIKE TO TIGER'S NEST (BHUTAN)
The hike up to Tiger’s Nest follows a steep trail. From between the trees and sweeping mists, Tiger’s Nest keeps appearing and disappearing from view. Midway up, there is a canteen where you can stop to have lunch. A few minutes before reaching the canteen is the iconic spot where people take the customary picture with the monastery in the background. To get to the canteen, you can also hire a horse but from there up you will have to walk.
From the entrance of Tiger’s Nest Bhutan, there are 700 stone steps carved into the cliff face that leads up to the monastery. Once you reach the sacred site, there are several levels and temples within that you can visit. There is also a cold cave where Padmasambhava is said to have meditated.
According to legend, Padmasambhava (an 8th-century Buddhist master from India) landed at Tiger’s Nest, Bhutan, on a flying tiger. He then began meditating in a cave for 4 months. It is believed that he subdued the local demons and began the conversion of the people of Bhutan to Buddhism. He was responsible for spreading Tantric Buddhism in Tibet and Bhutan in the 700s.
Besides the captivating monastery, the view of the valley from Tiger’s Nest(Bhutan) is surreal.
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Hike trail leading up to the monastery
INSIDE "TIGER'S NEST" (BHUTAN)
Inside the monastic complex are several caves, lhakhangs, sacred objects, drubchus (holy water), and Tshogyal Pangchung (the lawn of Khandro Yeshe Tshogyal).
Other fascinating aspects within the site include the Tiger’s Lair— where Yeshi Tshogyal (Padmasmbahava's wife, known as the “Fairy of Wisdom”) resided as a tigress; a rock called “Do Nyinda Marmo,” which bears the sun and moon’s imprints and is said to be the mouth of the treasure of Gondue; and Phurpa Lhatsho, a spirit-lake located at the base of the cliff.
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TIPS WHEN HIKING TO TIGER'S NEST (BHUTAN)
- Start the trek early; it’s less tiring
- Carry a walking stick
- Trek light
- Carry water, energy bars/chocolates for an energy boost