Monday, December 16, 2013

Taktsang Monastery: Icon of Bhutan!

If you are visiting Bhutan as a tourist, you are expected to see this place. It is believed that your sins will be washed away if you hike to this monastery. It is also believed that Guru Rinpoche flew on the back of a tigress and meditated in a cave here. It is also said that the cliff face resembles a tiger.

The famous Taksang Monastery of Bhutan
As you can see, this place is definitely special for locals and tourists alike. It has to be the most touristy place in the whole of Bhutan, but that is definitely not bad as this place has a lot of things working in its favor. First, it takes a good 90 to 120 minutes to climb to this temple. These 90 to 120 minutes takes you through pine trees and offers you stunning mountain vistas. Then, you have a steep flight of steps down and up and then the temple itself.

Tiger's Nest - the famous temple of Bhutan
This place also known as the tiger’s nest is one of the must do’s of Bhutan. If you cannot make the climb for whatever reasons, you can hire a ride on one of the mountain horses. But again, the horse only takes you up to a guest house and you will have to cover the steps by foot. Inside the monastery, no electronic devices are allowed and this includes the camera and mobile phone. But, the lack of gadgets hardly makes a difference as the aura of this place is so strong that you can just sit cross legged on the floor and look around at the murals, the lamps burning in front of you and the vividly designed and decorated Buddha statues. Else, you can simply meditate.

Taktsang Monastery or Tiger's Nest, near Paro in Bhutan
It is best to begin the trek by 7 AM if you wish to escape the harsh mid morning sun. This will also mean that you reach the lodge for tea on your way up and for lunch on your way down. If you wish, you can skip having lunch here. A good pair of shoes are recommended, though boots are necessary. Walking sticks are available on hire at the start of the trek. Once you have finished the trek, you can either take your vehicle back to Paro or go via Kyichu Lakhang, one of the oldest temples of Bhutan.

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