Tiger Nest Monastery or Taktsang is one of the most venerated places near Paro in Bhutan. It is the most remote and challenging monastery to approach at an elevation of over 10,000 feet. It is one of the oldest monasteries between valleys and mountain cliffs. The monastery houses four temples and residential facilities for the monks. Majestic mountains, emerald green valleys, and isolated location make it the most famous Bhutan cultural icon.
The history of the origin of Paro Taktsang is mist-shrouded. Taktsang means the tiger's lair in the Tibetan language. Guru Rinpoche or Padma Sambhava arrived in the Paro valley from Tibet on a flying tiger and meditated in one of the thirteen Himalayan caves for three years, three months, three weeks, three days and three hours. Later, he snuffed out some wayward demons in the valley. It is believed that Yeshe Tsogyal transformed into a tigress and carried the Guru on her back to Taktshang from Singye Dzong in eastern Bhutan. Guru emerged in eight manifestations.This event ushered in Buddhism into Bhutan. Padma Sambhava practiced Tantric Buddhism in the 8th century C.E. assuming the Horrific form of Guru Dorje Drolo to cleanse the place of evil spirits and save the integrity of Buddhist teachings. He tamed and subjugated the malicious spirits apart from delivering sublime teachings to the disciples.Initially, this labyrinth of caves served as a meditation site for Padma Sambhava, and many prominent Tibetan Buddhist figures in the subsequent centuries.Tenzin Rabgye constructed this temple in 1692 in honor of Padma Sambhava. The Bhutanese ruler Tenzin Rabgye was regarded as the reincarnation of Padma Sambhava. His historic visit to the mountain cave coincided with the Tsechu dance festival. Tsechu celebration accompanied miracles like flowers raining from the sky, mythical beasts, and Tenzin Rabgye around the cave.
Pentsa Deva sculptured the statue of the Guru at Punakha Thangdzong and took to Taktshang. At Taktshang, the statue uttered: "Do not worry, for someone shall come to carry me to Taktsang!". Therefore, the place is known as the temple of the self-speaking statue of the Guru.
The temple complex houses four temple buildings and eight caves. Bridges and narrow stone walkways connect the building.Stark white exterior walls, red shingled roofs, and golden roofs were featured at Paro Taktsang, like other prominent buildings in Bhutan. Usually, stone and rammed mud is used in the construction of temples in Bhutan. Golden ceilings, golden idols, and the hall of a Thousand Buddhas, a statue of a large tiger, are there in the interior of Paro Taktsang.The shrine contains beautiful paintings of his twenty-five chief disciples on the rock and the throne used by Gyalse Tenzin Rabgye. Famous Niwari artisans Pentsa Deva, Dharma Deva, and Dharmashri built all the sacred objects. The 34th Je Khenpo, Shedrup Yoezer, renovated the monastery between 1961 and 1965.A tragic fire broke out in 1998 devastated many buildings, and one monk succumbed to the injury. His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the Fourth King Of Bhutan, restored its glory and renovated it in the early 2000s.Monks start their day by spinning a large prayer wheel in the courtyard. Spinning prayer wheel is considered as good as reciting prayers orally as per Buddhist belief.
You cannot drive your vehicles up to the monastery. You can get to the monastery by hiking or hiring a horse to carry you there. The hiking will take 5 to 7 hours for the entire visit with a distance of 4 miles and the highest elevation of 10,232 feet.It is doable for most people because it is not overly steep to go uphill. The climb is comfortable in the second half as you near the monastery.
Timings are subject to change. You will be automatically booked into a time slot as part of the check out process. Please visit the official website to confirm the time slot before your visit.
Tiger’s Nest Monastery
Taktsang Monastery, popularly known as Tiger’s Nest, is the unofficial symbol of Bhutan and one of the most sacred pilgrimage sites in the country.It is sai that Guru Rinpoche, the Father of Bhutanese Buddhism had arrived here more than a million years ago from Tibet on the back of a tigress and meditated here.
Paro is the hub for all the adventure activities in Bhutan. it includes trekking, mountain biking, kayaking and rafting. The trek extends 5,400 metres, by crossing 4 different passes and camps at high altitudes.
It is one of the best place to mediatate and do soul searching.If you want guidance and peace of mind youcan mediatate in the monastries or even at your room as the environment is cool and silent.
Taste Local Flavours
You can try Bhutan's favourite cuisine Ema Datshi.Yak cheese is used majorly in all foods that is provided to the people.It is a very popular dish and is a must try whoever visits the place.
When you visit Paro Taktsang it is not important to have an itineraray. To witness the view of Mount Everest you can travel to Paro and you can even see them through the eyes even if far from it.