Taktshang Monastery

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Taktshang Monastery

Taktsang Monastery, famously known as Tiger’s Nest Monastery, is located in Paro district, Bhutan. The monastery is one of the most venerated places of pilgrimage in the Himalayan. Taktsang clings to the rock towering 800m (2,600feet) above the valley and is located 2,950m (9,678 feet) above the seal level. It takes about 2 to 3 hours (depending on your fitness level) to climb to the monastery from the road of Ramthangkha, 12 kilometres from Paro town.

The Legend and History

The legend of Taktsang (Tiger’s nest) evolved form 747 AD when Guru Padmasmbhava (also known as Guru Rinpoche) chose a cave on a sheer rock face to meditate and, assuming a wrathful form, Guru Dorji Drolo, astride a tigress to subdue the evil spirits in the locality. Legend has it that the tigress was actually Yeshi Tshogyal, a consort of Guru Rinpoche, who has transformed herself into a fearsome animal to subjugate spirits. It is also said that Yeshe Tshogyal transformed herself into a tigress to carry Guru Rinpoche on her back from Singye Dzong in Eastern Bhutan to Taktsang. Guru Rinpoche then performed meditation at the very same site and emerged in eight incarnated forms (manifestations). Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest monastery) thus became one of the most important Buddhist sacred sites in the Himalayan Buddhist world.

At Taktsang, Guru Rinpoche revealed the Mandala of Pelchen Dorje Phurpa, and delivered sublime teachings to his disciples. He meditated in the cave for 3 years 3 months, 3 weeks and 3 days before subjugating the malicious spirits, and concealed profound treasures for the benefit of sentient beings.

Tips for Visiting Tiger’s Nest

  • Start early if you want to avoid the crowd and the heat.

  • Wear a pair of good walking shoes to protect your ankles, bring a hat and sunscreen.

  • You can also rent a walking stick at the base of Tiger’s Nest if required.

  • Stay hydrated and take your time. The ascent gains an elevation of 700 m, although it is below an altitude of 3000m, it is wise to pace yourself to avoid overexertion and result in altitude sickness.

  • Regulate your breathing to avoid panting. You will expend more energy if you pant.

  • Bring a warm jacket as your body cools down pretty fast when you are visiting the temple.

  • Bring some snacks to chew on once you reach the peak to restore your energy and keep warm for the return journey.