Feb 8, 2012

The Tiger's Nest @ Paro, Bhutan

Tiger's Nest,  Paro

Postcard view
Paro Taksang or more popularly known as the Tiger's Nest is one of the most popular attraction in Paro, Bhutan. Tiger's Nest is nestled up in the mountains among the lush greenery of the forests.

I was quite excited for the hike as it is always been a dream for me to visit this place. A bit of history of the monastery as copied from wikipedia: (I only remembered our guide, Namgay told us about the flying tigress part)

According to the legend related to this Taktsang, it is believed that Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche) flew to this location from Tibet on the back of a tigress from Khenpajong. This place was consecrated to tame the Tiger demon.

An alternative legend holds that a former wife of an emperor, known as Yeshe Tsogyal willingly became a disciple of Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambahva) in Tibet. She transformed herself into a tigress and carried the Guru on her back from Tibet to the present location of the Taktsang in Bhutan. In one of the caves here, the Guru then performed meditation and emerged in eight incarnated forms (manifestations) and the place became holy. Subsequently, the place came to be known as the “Tiger's Nest”

More picturesque view
For our 5 days 4 nights visit to Bhutan, we allocated one day for this place as the hike up to the Monastery takes about 1 hour for our guide but for us, we took 1 1/2 hours. The 'credit' goes to Namgay who volunteered to carry one of my friend's backpack so that she can walk faster!

XS climbing from behind

Finally we made it!!
The view is amazing

We started the hike early in the morning to avoid the sunny hot weather of Bhutan. I still remembered when I browse through all the forums and guide books online and discovered that August is not the best time to visit Bhutan due to the monsoon season from June to September. However, we were quite lucky as there were no rain and instead it was scorching hot, even hotter than Tibet!

There's a rest house halfway through the hike and we were very excited to see the monastery. After resting for half an hour, we resume our hike and finally reached the monastery. A long and tiring hike turn into excitement as we were rewarded with the majestic view of Taksang. It is simply too beautiful to describe in words.  Bags, cameras and handphones are not allowed in  the monastery and there's even a policeman located at the Tiger's Nest.

We spend some time at the monastery listening to stories told by Namgay. He had actually hike the Tiger's Nest numerous time, almost once a week! No wonder, he didn't even break a sweat when hiking up the mountain. He also mention that once he had to help his friend carry a Japanese guy who died in the middle of the hike.

After listening to his stories, we hike back down to the rest house for some refreshments and food!

Greenery along the hike
On the way down