The Tiger’s Nest Temple
The Tiger’s Nest Temple is not only an important landmark in Bhutan, but has now become a global iconic site! Hanging over a cliff in the outskirts of Paro Valley, this sacred Buddhist monastery is also known as the ‘Paro Taktsang or the ‘Taktsang Lhakhang’ or the ‘Taktsang Palphug Monastery’.
A devout Buddhist site in the lap of the mighty Himalayas, the Tiger’s Nest Temple is the site where Guru Padmasambhava once meditated for three years, three months, three weeks, three days, and three hours in the 7th century AD. Legends have it that the Guru, who is believed to introduce Buddhism in Bhutan, flew down to this holy site riding on a tigress’s back.
As the Guru flew down from Khenpajong and landed on the site that already had a temple (built in around 1692), he started meditating to subdue evil demons residing troubling the region. As the Guru rode on a tigress’s back, the place was later named as the Tiger’s Nest Temple by the devotees.
Seated at 3,120m (10,240ft) above the sea level, Paro Taktsang or the Taktsang Palphug Monastery is located around 10 miles towards the north of Paro Valley. One can reach the monastery only by hiking from the base that usually takes 2-3 hours; a round trek should take somewhere between 5-6 hours, as there is no driveway to the monastery. However, visitors can hire horses available at the base of the trekking trail.
Though the trek could be a bit tough in nature, trekkers get rewarded with awe-aspiring views of picturesque pine forests, gentle slopes, serpentine terrains, and the beautiful valley underneath. On reaching the Tiger’s Nest Temple, visitors get bestowed with a sense of spirituality, excitement, thrill, and divinity.