Bhutan is indeed aptly named as ‘The Kingdom of Happiness’. It’s the land of culture, beauty, heritage and history. A lot of it in fact. Bhutan is the land of legends and myths, and beautiful natural wonders. But the top attraction here remains Paro Taktsang, also known as the Tiger’s Nest. Standing tall at a cliffside, at a height of 10,240 feet, it’s a 17th-century temple complex and the most sacred shrine in Bhutan. Why? Well, there’s an interesting legend behind it. Also, the monastery is famous among travellers for the trek to reach there. Scroll down to know more about this marvellous monastery.
All About Paro Taktsang
Located on the top of a high cliff, Paro Taktsang is one of the holiest places in Bhutan. Also called the Tiger’s Nest of Paro, the monastery is perched on the edge of the hill, and you can easily spot the Paro valley and the river from there.
The complex was built in 1692 around the Taktsang Senge Samdup cave, where it’s said that Guru Padma Sambhava meditated in the 8th century. It is said that Guru Padma Sambhava was the one who brought Buddhism in Bhutan. All those who love to enjoy meditation, natural sightseeing and trekking, this monastery is for you.
Legend Behind The Monastery
Guru Padma Sambhava, Indian Buddhist, brought Buddhism to Bhutan in the 8th century and meditated at Paro Taktsang for three years, three months, three weeks, three days and three hours. You must be wondering why the monastery is called Tiger’s Nest of Paro?
Taktsang means ‘Tigress lair’. And legend has it that Padma Sambhava flew to Paro Taktsang from Tibet on the back of a flying tigress from Khenpajong. In one of the caves, the Guru performed meditation to subdue to local demons and emerged in eight forms (manifestations). After that, the place came to be known as the ‘Tiger’s Nest’.
Structure of The Monastery
The Paro Taktsang is made up of four temples buildings and a series of eight caves. All the buildings are connected by a few rickety bridges and a network of narrow stone walkways, with the caves accessible behind the temple buildings. Like other prominent buildings in Bhutan, Paro Taktsang features stark white exterior walls and red shingled roofs as well as golden ceilings.
In the courtyard, there’s a prayer wheel that every morning the monks turn, which marks as the new day. The Buddhists believe turning a prayer wheel is similar to reciting prayers orally. The interior of the monastery features golden ceilings, golden idols and hall of a thousand Buddhas carved on a rock, where a statue of a large tiger can also be found.
One Of The Best Himalayan Hiking Trails
If you are a nature lover, then you will definitely enjoy the breathtaking views from the temple complex. But reaching here can be quite a task. The hike up is a broad trail that starts at the bottom of the mountain. It is around 6km for the round trip. Also, you can take a break at the Taktsang Cafeteria which is one of the cool spots for the hikers. The complete trip trek takes around 5 to 6 hours and ranges between intermediate to difficult level of trekking.
And to witness the best views of Bhutan’s flora, spring is the best time to visit this fantastic hilly treasure. You can enjoy the surreal beauty of the surrounding while trekking up to the stunning Paro Taktsang monastery. We are adding this gorgeous destination to our travel bucket list, what about you?
(Featured Image Source: fodors.com)