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Entry Charges to enter the Tiger’s Nest:- 500 Nu (Bhutanese ngultrum)
Visit to Untouched Country
“If you don't hike up to Paro's tiger nest, your Bhutan trip is incomplete.” This was the line I had heard from my friends and relatives who have been to Bhutan.
Without a doubt, a first time trip to Bhutan would not be complete without seeing the Tiger’s Nest. The trek to the Tiger’s Nest in Bhutan is something I had been dreaming about for years and it did not disappoint. The views from the hike to the top were worth it alone but the best part was yet to come.
Location of the Tiger’s Nest
Taktsang literally means “Tiger’s lair,”.The monastery is located 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) to the north of Paro and hangs on a precarious cliff at 3,120 metres (10,240 ft), about 900 metres (3,000 ft) above the Paro valley, on the right side of the Paro Chu (‘chu’ Bhutanese means ”river or water”).
History of the Tiger’s Nest
The temple complex was first built in 1692 around a cave but it dates back to the 8th century as a mediation site. According to legends,Guru Padmasambhava also known as Guru Rinpoche flew to this cave at the back of the flaming tigress and, is believed that he meditated for three years, three months, three weeks, three days and three hours in the 8th century. It is believed that the former wife of the emperor, known as Yeshe Tsogyal, willingly became a disciple of Guru Rinpoche and Padmasambhava transformed her into a Tigress for the purpose and landed at the cliff. Guru Padmasambhava emerged in 8 different forms and why the Tiger’s Nest is such an important site among Buddhists.
Legends aside, the scenic beauty will leave you speechless. It is one of the most spectacular places I have ever seen.
My Journey to Tiger’s Nest
So after staying in Thimpu and then heading to Paro, my journey was to Tiger’s Nest the very next day.The very early morning I woke up at 6 am, had coffee and took taxi to the base point. It is always recommended to start treks in the morning. I had read in other travelogues that it take almost 4 hours to ascend and 2 hours to descend. The trek distance is 9 kms. I reached base camp at 8 am. The stalls were there to sell the souvenirs and hiking poles. I took the ticket from the ticket office.
As I was travelling solo, I met many people from Taiwan, America, Thailand, India and from many countries. After 5 minutes of trek, I got the glimpse of Tiger’s Nest perched on the cliff. On the way, what was most magnificent was the old lady, aged 86 ascending towards the Taktsang monastery with the help of walking Stick. That was the huge inspiration for all and people were motivating her on the way. On the way, you get to see tons of colored Prayer flags.
After 30 mins. Of continuous trekking, I stopped by the spot to drink water,There I met lady along with her son. After talks, I got to know that she was Indian and was living in New York from last 40 years and what amazed me the most was that she was 56 years old but she looked in her forties. After few minutes of trek, we reached Taktsang Cafeteria on the way. It took me almost 1hour 10 minutes to reach there. We preferred not to stop there and we moved on.
After few minutes, we had the beautiful glimpse of Taktsang Monastery. The scenic beauty was so alluring and ravishing. There was a spot where people were capturing the photos. We spend almost 10 minutes taking the photographs and adoring the exquisite beauty.
After that, The trail was easy and less monotonous. The bewitching scene of the Taktsang Monastery, under the clear sky, surrounded by mountains, worked as an elixir to me.
From the point, it was a short walk down a stone staircase. I crossed a bridge covered in prayer flags, and then made a slightly strenuous climb up to the monastery. There was a waterfall while crossing the bridge.
On reaching the Monastery, I submitted the mobile, camera and the bad to the security as Photography is prohibited in the Monastery. Then the Guide took our group on the tour of temples in the monastery. There are total 8 temples in the monastery. There were two must visit places in the monastery. One was the Tiger’s Cave. I entered the cave with the group, and believe me, the way to cave was moreover a task to accomplish. Second place was the Thumb Imprint point where you have to stand few feet away from the point and have to approach the point with your closed eyes while your thumb erected towards it. If you thumb touches the point, it is believed to be good luck for you and you would get honor to visit the shrine again. After spending an hour in the monastery, I descended towards the base point. It took me almost 1:30 minutes to reach the base point. As described earlier, there were shops selling souvenirs at the base point. I bought some souvenirs and took the taxi back to the hotel.
Each and every phase of the time spent while hiking was remarkable. The overall experience , awe-inspiring and breathtaking one, was the one that I can relish upon throughout my life.
Brief:- Spare your full day for the Tiger’s Nest. Don’t rush to cover other places on the same day.
As Tiger’s Nest is located 900 metres above the Paro valley, The only way to reach there is by Hiking. No vehicle can reach to the monastery. You can hire the horse to carry you most of the way there.
On an average, As Tiger’s Nest Trek takes 4 hours approx.. for the round trip, 1 hour in the monastery, and half an hour in Cafeteria on the mid way.
So if you start by 8 am for the trek, you would be back by 2 pm approx..
The hike starts at the bottom of the mountain, right at the car park. There will be people selling souvenirs and hiking poles and this is place to hire a horse if necessary.
There was no Ticket fee to Paro Taktsang till Apr’17 ; But from May’17 onwards , the ticket fee is 550 Nu(Bhutanese Nugltrum) to enter the Paro Taktsang monastery.
The scenic beauty is so alluring and ravishing. There is a spot where you can capture the photos after few minutes hike from Taktsang Cafeteria Point.
After your tour of the Tiger’s Nest, you will hike back the way you came. Make sure you get all the photos you want…this is something you will want to look back on forever.
There were two must visit points in the monastery. One is the Tiger’s Cave and other one is Thumb Imprint point. There is no other way to come back. The way to and fro the monastery is the same.
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