Places to stay near Taktsang Trail
Reviews • 7
Day 6 - Hike the Tiger's nest Monastery. Shop local for souvenirs.
Also known as the Tiger's Nest Monastery, it is the biggest attraction for travellers through the world. It sits perched on a cliff and has immense significance for Buddhists worldwide. It is believed that Yeshe Tsogval who was a follower of Guru Rinpoche (Lord Padmasambhava), transformed herself into a tigress and carried Guru Rinpoche on her back from Tibet to Taktsang. It was one of nine caves where he meditated.
Next day early in the morning we decided to go to Taksang Gompa or famously known as the Tiger’s Nest. It was one of the ten most precariously placed shrines in the world . The first glimpse of Tiger’s Nest is magical ! It’s like a secret monastery ,waiting to be discovered . The trek to the monastery is very exciting .After we started the trek , we found ourselves passing through woods, rocks and small springs. While trekking upwards , we witnessed fascinating views of Paro town and the valley below . The trek was very exciting and after 3 hours of trekking we reached Tiger’s Nest and it was divine ! The peacefulness of the surroundings and the spiritual feeling of fulfillment which one gets after 3 hours of gruesome trekking is simply surreal and this makes Tiger’s Nest a must-go destination in the bucket list of every traveler. .Finally after admiring the surrounding natural beauty and clicking photos for sometime we returned from Tiger’s Nest and directly made our journey towards home.
It is one trek that everyone should experience once in lifetime. It is about 5miles long trail and people generally take around 3hrs to reach this amazing monastery on the cliff. Its unbelievable as to how they could achieve something like that. So there are three points of this trek. First you will reach Taksang Cafeteria, So get good view of Taksang monastery from here. Second you will reach that photo point with a slab just before stairs begin. Here is a lovely Tea place with butter lamp offerings. As I reached there a monk gave me milk, tea bag and hot water. DIY tea. :D He did not ask for money though we did donate some. Getting Tea then was magical. How much I miss how happy I felt that moment. Third point is reaching monastery, I suggest do take series of complicated stairs to real Tiger's Nest. Seeing it was like justification of coming to Bhutan. Unearthly Beauty. After descent I went off to Thimpu city.
Peaceful and offers a view that needs to be absrbed slowly.
The hotel was cheap, decent (ish) and served by a restaurant downstairs. We got a ride to Taktsang the next day. At the base of the hill were the obligatory souvenir stalls selling prayer beads, flags and other knick knacks. Piles of pony dung peppered the rocky ground and the pungent smell of the animals and their faeces hung in the air. A 40-something European gentleman and his wife were selecting rides. We were young and full of vigour; surely we weren’t going to take the ponies to the half-way mark. Five minutes into the walk and I thought, ‘hell, this is easy’. Then came the uphill climb. While it was nippy getting there, I ought to have been smart enough not to wear my sweater. After all, exercise does make you work up a sweat. I bore it out. The path was probably hewn into the rock over the ages. Taktsang or ‘Tiger’s Nest’ Monastery was built in the 1694, but held sacred for centuries earlier. Legend has it that the revered Guru Rinpoche flew to this location on the back of a tigress to meditate sometime in the 8th century. Seated precariously, on the edge of the cliff-face, the monastery with its four main buildings, chortens and caves, was rebuilt after a fire in 1958. Taktsang through the trees We plodded on. Up ahead, the European gentleman was not on his pony anymore, but instead behind it, urging it forward. On and off he would climb onto its back, helped by the guide, but the pony seemed to want the day off. Between the trees on certain turns of the path, glimpses of Taktsang peek at you. It’s a good way to motivate you on, particularly if you start having second thoughts about the walk. Soon, we were at the little restaurant where you can tank up with water and a bite. The next point at which you can get the strange tasting butter tea the Bhutanese love is at a little kiosk run by a toothy, smiling old lady along the steps to Taktsang (It’s free and served out of a mug). The road gets nastier here. I realised how much more fit I needed to be (or turn miraculously into Heidi of the hills) as elderly Germans passed us with their hiking sticks, a senior Japanese lady bent forward to tie her shoelaces and continued on, and Bhutanese pilgrims raced by with barely a heavy breath. We strung up our prayer flags, took a few mandatory pictures and began climbing down the stairs. Already I was dreading the walk back. Stairs have never been my best friend. But the view from Taktsang is worth every uphill climb, every second thought, every penny spent getting to Bhutan. Chilly wind from the valley whips at your face, threatening to tear off your nose. The wood panelled rooms are comparatively warmer, and because you were on too tight a budget to afford a guide, you sidle up to the ones speaking English and catch snippets of their stories. As usual, I got lost, roaming room to room for at least half an hour before I was heated up enough to grunt ‘where the hell were you?’ when I finally found my travel buddy at the ‘Personal Belongings’ desk. We chatted with the sentries, who like most Bhutanese were dressed in traditional ‘gho’s. We trudged back up the stairs, stopping to take pictures by the waterfall as a web of colourful prayer flags fluttered maddeningly in the wind. I couldn’t help but wonder how they tied them across cliff faces like that. The Dzhong we saw the previous day had nothing on Taktsang. Sure it was beautiful in its own right, majestic and royal with its pretty wooden bridge across the pebbled river and gilded tops. Truth be told, visiting Bhutan had always been a wish, but it was Taktsang that actually yanked me there.