Located in the Cliffside of the upper Paro valley, in Bhutan 10 kilometers to the north hanging on a steep cliff at 3,120 meters (10,240 ft), about 900 meters (3,000 ft) the Paro Taktsang Monastery “Tiger’s Nest” is a well-known Himalayan Buddhist sacred site and a temple complex.
Build in 1692, the 17th century old Tiger’s Nest Monastery is the most sacred monastery of the country and it is also believed to be the birthplace of Buddhism in Bhutan.
This small monastery on cliff in Bhutan is where the second Buddha is said to have meditated.
Why is it called a Tiger’s Nest? Paro Taktsang which literally means “Tiger’s lair“, it is believed that Guru Rinpoche Padmasambhava flew to this location from Tibet on the back of a tigress. This place was set apart to tame the Tiger demon back in the days according to the legend.
A different legend holds that a former wife of a monarch willingly became a follower of Padmasambahva in Tibet. She transformed herself into a tigress and carried the Guru on her back from Tibet to Taktsang in Bhutan. Afterward, the place came to be known as the “Tiger’s Nest”.
The Paro Taktsang monastery is accessible only by mountainous paths and involves a two hour climb from the valley floor through pine forests at around 2,133 meters (7000 feet), to the Tiger’s Nest 914 meters (3000 feet) above.
Going slow is recommend if you do not have a flying tiger!!
The monastery has four main temples and residential shelters. The buildings are interconnected through stairways steps which are made from rocks along with a number of tricky wooden bridges. There are eight caves, four of which are fairly easy to access.
At the uppermost level of the complex is a temple that has a wall painting of Buddha. The Monastery also has a history of occupation by monks. Each building of the monastery has a veranda which provides lovely view of the Paro valley down below.
Today, Paro Taktsang is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country and is a modern day example which shows the connection of Bhutan and Buddhism.
- Tourists can enter the monastery as per these timings as long as your guide has arranged the standard permit in advance:
- 8 AM to 1 PM and 2-5 PM daily, October – March
- Until 6 PM, April – September.
- You have to register with the security at the entrance and deposit your bags and cameras.
- Camera and Photography is not allowed inside the monastery.
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