Tiger's Nest Monastery, also known as Paro Taktsang is a Buddhist Monastery. Perched on a cliff, 900 meters off the ground, it is stunning in its beauty and location. Doubtlessly, a first time trip to Bhutan would not be complete without seeing the Tiger's Nest.
About the Place
The Tiger's Nest Monastery is a sacred Himalayan Buddhist site located 10 miles north of Paro (making Paro the perfect home base location). It was constructed in 1692, around a cave where Guru Rinpoche first meditated in 8th century. The event that introduced Buddhism to Bhutan. The legends has it that Guru Rinpoche was carried to this location from Tibet on the back of a Tigress, thus giving it's name, Tiger's Nest.
Now, this monastery consists of four temples with accommodations for the monks. Despite the number of tourists visiting every day, Paro Taktsang still functions as a monastery.
Hiking to the Tiger's Nest
Here are some points to consider while setting off for this trail.
* This hike will take your full day. On an average, it takes between 4-5 hours to do the round trip, count 1 more hour to tour the Monastery.
*Plan to commence this hike as early as possible, to avoid the afternoon sun, also it starts getting dark past 4 pm (we visited in spring season) and there's no electricity on the way.
* Have proper breakfast before you start the trail. Carry a few snacks and lots of water with you. There's a cafeteria, about the halfway point which closes around 4 PM.
*Due to its location the only way to get to the monastery is by hiking. However, for those who cannot hike the entire way, you can hire a horse to carry you most of the way there.
Distance -- 4 Miles round trip
Elevation Gain -- 1700 Feet
Highest Elevation -- 10,232 Feet
Time -- Allow 5 to 7 hours for the entire visit.
Getting to the Monastery
* The hike starts at the bottom of the mountain, right at the parking lot. Beside it there are shops from where you can get hiking poles, souvenirs or hire a horse.
*Once you clear the alpine trees that surrounds the parking lot, you'll get the first glimpse of The Tiger's Nest Monastery. It is perched on a cliff, high above the valley floor.
*The path to the monastery is a wide, dirty trail. It is uphill the entire way, but not overly steep. It is not that hard if you keep a constant pace all the way. Make sure to buy a hiking pole, it will help ease your knees on the descent.