This is going to be the highlight of your trip to this majestic country. The Tiger's Nest or the Takstang Monastery is the highest rated trek in Bhutan located at the height of 10,000ft. Expect a 3-4 hour climb, which is medium-difficulty, but gets difficult right after you reach midway. It is advisable to start early so that you can spend time in and around the monastery. Make sure you buy a walking stick that is available at the base. It shall come handy during the trek! After a steep climb, you will be descending and climbing around 850 steps to the majestic view of the Taktsang Monastery. Do abstain from taking selfies while you're climbing the stairs as fatal accidents have been reported.
This monastery hangs on a precipitous cliff about 900 metres above the Paro valley.it is also known as Tiger's nest. It got its name from a legend which says that Padmasambhava (Guru who meditated in this place) flew to this location from Tibet on the back of a tigress from Khenpajong. This place was consecrated to tame the Tiger demon.The scenic beauty and the location of this monastery is astounding and if lucky you can spot a snow leopard in the neighbouring area during winters.PLACE- 10 km trek from Paro valley, Bhutan.
After our visit to the three important places in Thimphu, we talked to the same driver and told him to drop us to Paro. We also told him to take us to Chela La Pass, which is also one of the highest passes in Bhutan.In around 2-3 hours we reached Chele la Pass and from Chele La Pass (3800m) we got a short look at Mt Jhomolhari (7314m). We strolled a couple of hundred meters north among prayer flags, and after that took a trail that completes the slope glades and woodland down to Kila Goemba at 3650m. It is a decent stroll through pine forest, offering great perspectives of Paro Valley.
Taktsang Palphug Monastery
After an early breakfast, you will proceed for an excursion to the famous place called Taktshang Monastery or Tiger Nest (5hrs to 6 hrs hike (up and down). Taktsang Lhakhang or the Tiger's Nest is the most famous Buddhist pilgrimage site and temple complex in Bhutan. Visible from afar, this stunning and highly revered monastery is perched on a high granite cliff at an altitude of 10,236 ft., overlooking the northern Paro valley.The people who will not able to visit Tiger Nest, we have some other places to visit:
Taktsang Lhakhang (Tiger's Nest) Paro
For all those who have done the hike for the Vaishno Devi temple in Jammu, India, here's a familiar site for you to experience! Tiger's Nest is the most visited place in Bhutan, and there's a reason for it. Every day multitude of people from across the world come for the (nearly) 2 hour trek to the Tiger's Nest to witness the beautiful temples located on the hilltop. A great place to meet new people, make friends on the way (if you're up for it), enjoy the view from the Valley Point (approx. 10% from Taktsang), get an opportunity to climb 900 stairs (beginning from the Valley Point) and experience the beauty the place has to offer. What I didn't like however was that although there is a cafe at the midpoint for one to have food and beverages (alcohol included), the cafe only had a Buffet lunch at INR 475 and had nothing else to offer. A lot of foreigners were of course enjoying a sumptuous meal while on their way back. It is only at such sights that I end up missing India. Who knows what kind of Pav Bhaji, road side Chat, Paratha, Rajma Chawal and what not vendors would have been there serving their delicacies if it was India! But what was perhaps the most beautiful thing I saw at the place was this 82 year old Tibetan lady doing the entire walk uphill on her own using just a cane and the support of her granddaughter. Kudos to the human spirit which at times act as an inspiration for all of us to make sure that we keep walking.
Tiger's Lair Temple
My final stop was the one structure that is synonymous with Bhutan, The Tiger's Nest or Taktsang Monastery. Located at 12000 feet, a climb which takes you on a spiritual trail with amazing views and a sense of greatness. What kept me going despite an injured knee was the fact that the monastery was a training spot for Bruce Wayne in Batman Begins. My journey was complete with strong winds and a slight drizzle of snow, to give me a perspective of life like never before. A must visit. The first proper view of the monastery from the opposite edge of the cliff equals the first glimpse I had of Petra in Jordan. I still wonder why this is not considered a wonder.
Kyichu Lhakhang, one of Bhutan’s oldest and most sacred shrine is situated in the Paro Valley. The temple was built in the 7th century by the Tibetan Emperor Songsten Gampo. It is considered to be one of the 108 temples built by him to subdue a demon that prevented the spread of Buddhism.
Paro International Airport Bhutan
Fun Facts: Paro airport is one of the most difficult landing strips in the world, as it is sandwiched between two Himalayas that are about 18000+ ft. It is reported that only 8 pilots in the world are qualified enough to land a plane at Paro. Do keep a lookout the window for a majestic view of the Mt. Everest from the flight.CurrencyBhutanese currency, Ngultrum is at par with Indian Rupee, so much so that you can even use Indian Rupee instead of Ngultrum, you don't need to exchange! It is suggested that you carry INR in lower denominations.When To Visit?The best time to visit Bhutan is March-July and October-December. In summer months, it is advisable to carry only light woollens as the days are pretty hot. However, be well prepared with warm clothes and trekking gear during the winter as you do not want to waste time being sick in this majestic country.Where To Stay?Remember that once you arrive in Bhutan, you will want to explore its various valleys and towns. To do so, it best to rent an Airbnb property or private room. It will cater to needs of those who want enjoy a property as well as those who simply want a place to bathe and sleep. This way, you'll spend less money on accommodation and can thus, spend more on food and expeditions.
Kyichu Lhakhang is one of the oldest temples in Bhutan, originally built in the 7th century. The temple complex is composed of two temples - the first was built to subdue a giant demoness and the second temple dedicated to Guru Rinpoche. The rest of the day is at leisure for independent activities. Overnight in Paro (B)
National Museum of Bhutan
Opens from 9am-4:30pm. It is famous for its unusual conch shell shape and its displays of Thangkas that depict Bhutan's seminal saints and teachers. You can also see ancient and modern festival masks to understand the evolution in Bhutanese culture.The Market PlacePurchase exclusive Bhutanese handcrafts, jewellery, scarves, and shawls. The main market also has amazing cafes that you can visit. Yegyel Cafe is a great option for you if you fancy Thai Food.
This cozy little cafe in Paro town, is all about yum light food and aromatic beverages. I went there just after tiger nest, so was tired and hungry; and as soon as i entered the cafe, i was welcomed with air filled with amazing coffee aroma and lullabies (the guy on counter was cradling a baby). The food was simple, yum and value for money.I Ordered: Mushroom Cheese Sandwich and Chamomile tea
Paro Rinphung Dzong
The Grand, Rinchen Pung Dzong is one of Bhutan’s most impressive monastery and perhaps the finest example of Bhutanese architecture. The present dzong was built in 1644 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal after he dismantled the then existing Dzong built by Drung Gyal in 15th century, which was known as Hungrel Dzong.
The charmtown Paro lies on the banks of the Paro (or Pa) Chhu, just a short distance northwest of the imposing Paro Dzong. The main street, only built in 1985, is lined with colourfully painted wooden shop fronts and restaurants, though these appear under threat as the town grows and multistorey concrete buildings continue to propagate. For now Paro remains one of the best Bhutanese towns to explore on foot and is worth an hour or two's stroll at the end of a day of sightseeing. A tourism galore in all sense. National Museum, Philatellic Gallery, Taktsang Monastery, Rimpung Dzong and Thongdroel. Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the kingdom’s oldest and most sacred temples and Dungtse Lhakhang are other tourist attractions in Paro. The National Museum is the main tourist attraction in Paro. This national museum is housed in Ta dzong which is an ancient watchtower. The Philatellic Gallery near the top of the museum is also one of the great tourist interest. This gallery contains a large collection of stamps. The Taktsang Monastery means the Tiger’s Nest. This monastery is the most important religious site for the Bhutanese people, and located at a distance of around 80 km from Paro, precariously perched on the edge of a cliff.