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Tigers nest monastery in Bhutan
Written by Shrinivas on July 15, 2020 Share on

All you need to know about the trek to Tiger’s Nest in Bhutan

Paro Taktsang is a famous and one of the holiest Himalayan Buddhist sites situated in Bhutan ‘s upper Paro valley cliffside. It was first established in 1692, around the Taktsang Senge Samdup Cave where Guru Padmasambhava was known to have meditated in the 8th century for four Months. Tiger’s nest is popular for the trek that has been going on for years. The trek promises mesmerizing views of the Paro Valley with an average distance of 6.4 kilometres. The question of how it was designed in circumstances like that still amazes people. It is one of the few places in Bhutan that Guru Rinpoche, also identified as ‘Second Buddha,’ has toured.

Tiger's nest
Source: Unsplash

Architecture

Founded on a steep cliffside in a remote area, you will be confused by the fact as to how such a magnificent monastery can be so faultlessly built in such a place. Visitors from all over the world visit the Paro Taktsang to see the beautiful architecture of Bhutan. Three major temples are found here, and the best part is the cave in which Guru Rinpoche meditated. Many in there can still feel his presence. The walls are painted with Padmasambhava’s holy figure, with delicate and intricate patterns.

Also read: Monasteries in Bhutan – Finding Solace in the Divine monasteries

Mythology

Guru Rinpoche rode to this site on a Tigress’ back on his way back to Tibet in the seventh century, when Guru Padmasambhava introduced Buddhism into Bhutan. He continuously meditated in the cave for three months. He also defeated the nearby devils and the dark spirits. This is how the monastery got the name as Tiger’s Nest. Paro Taktsang is safe, and the mesmerizing views of the local region render the hike worthwhile.

Also read: Top attractions in Paro – What makes it an ideal place to visit in Bhutan?

Getting there

There is no car heading up to the Nest Monastery of the Tiger since the road is not well paved. Therefore walking is still the only feasible alternative. Depending on your pace, the hike from the nearest road is four to six hours long. Animals and ponies can also be hired from the base to the midpoint from where you will have to walk a little to hit the peak. But the trip is dangerous and tiring due to the curvy track and the bumpy ride atop the animals. Thus walking is the best way to get to the monastery.

The Trek

The trekking trail leading to Paro Taktsang is considered a bit challenging but the determination to reach the destination is all it takes.

Paro Bhutan
Source: Unsplash

Overview

The path begins from the closest road and has a cumulative length of around 4 kilometres up to the monastery. All along the way, there are colourful flags which render the trail beautiful and vibrant. A cafeteria is the first stop on the road, which is 2 kilometres uphill from the parking lot. The trail is gentle, with a breathtaking view all the way. After that, there is a 1.44 kilometre-long hike to a cliffside from where the best view of Paro Taktsang is visible. The monastery here looks exactly the way it should feel. It seems like heaven between the hills and the fragrance in the atmosphere is incredibly interesting and soothing.

Also read: Hiking in Bhutan – Explore the Hills and Valleys in the Land of Thunder Dragon

The monastery is just 0.6 kilometres away from this point. The trip may seem difficult to complete, but when the monastery ‘s entrance gate is reached and you’re met by the incredible view, the tiredness disappears in seconds.

Things to note

The Tiger’s Nest Hike, like every other novice hike, carries along the way a series of adventures. It’s not as difficult as other treks. Trekking newbies will head off on this trek quickly. Be prepared to travel on foot, as most part of the trip involves climbing and descending the mountain ranges. There is an option to get here riding horseback, but this may turn out to be scarier than walking through the edges and turns of the cliffs.

Takstang Trail
Source: Unsplash

Preparation tips

Treks along the altitude require healthy lungs. You can start by simply jogging each day to improve your endurance-initially at a low pace and then increase your pace every day. Set a goal distance to travel, say, 4 kilometres in 40 minutes, in a specified period of time. This can take time so be sure to effectively accomplish the target before the trek begins. The practices such as running, swimming and ascending stairs will even boost your ventilation.

Essentials required

  • Backpack and rain cover: 50-60 litres with easy straps for the shoulder (a backpack with solid braces and support frame is required)
  • Trekking Pole: No matter how good you are in brisk walking, a trekking pole is important to help you balance the weight of your baggage and offer protection when walking over rugged terrain.
  • Water bottle: Two bottles recommended
  • Hydration kit: One hydration belt and one container of one litre will be borne by anyone that needs it.
  • Snacks: Dry fruits, energy bars, etc.
  • Personal Medical Kit: Consult your doctor, maintain Electral / ORS, fever medicine, movement sickness, altitude sickness, allergy, pain relievers, diarrhoea, acidity, indigestion. Carry crepe bandages, gauze, band-aids, cotton, ORS, antiseptic creams, ointment for pain relief or anything else depending on what you are prone to getting.
  • Plastic Bags: Hold some plastic waste material recycling bags and compartmentalize products.
  • Trekking shoes: Wear a pair of durable socks, because they are the only protection to save your feet from undulating roadways. They will be durable ideally with a strong grasp on a broad ankle.

Interesting Read: Things Bhutanese do differently that make Bhutan the happiest place to be

Prayer flags
Source: Unsplash

Plan your trip with Pickyourtrail

Tiger’s Nest, or Paro Taktsang, is one of Bhutan’s most famous Buddhist locations. Situated 900 meters above the upper cliff in the Paro Gorge, this monastery is beyond question as an architectural marvel. Being peaceful and less commercialised, Bhutan is a perfect refuge for a serene holiday away from the region’s noise. Culturally rich, it is a delight for tourists loving to explore local traditions and cultures. Pickyourtrail guarantees a trouble-free journey. So choose from our range of tour packages and start planning your Bhutan trip from scratch right away. Please leave a WhatsApp message for more details. You can also download the Pickyourtrail travel app on Android or iOS. Happy vacay!

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