The breathtaking Himalayan cloud monastery is one of the most revered places of pilgrimage, with legends, and illuminating golden, ruby-red temple complex.
Paro Taktsang also known as Tiger’s Nest, or Taktsang Palphug Monastery, is a prominent Himalayan Buddhist sacred site and temple complex, perched 3,120 meters above sea level. It is built on the cliff-side of the upper Paro valley, about 10 miles north of Paro, Bhutan.
The iconic monastery is where Guru Padmasambhava (who introduced Buddhism to Bhutan) first landed in the 8th century. According to the legend, the Guru landed at the cliff on the back of flying tigress and “anointed” it as the place for a monastery. In 1692, the temple foundation was laid and later built by Gyalse Tenzin Rabgye, Bhutan’s leader at the time. In 1998, a fire burned the monastery down and was rebuilt in 2005, by Fourth King of Bhutan.
Tiger’s Nest consists of four main temples, residential shelters with balconies, interconnected rock stairways and steps with several wooden bridges. The entrance to the main cave is through a narrow passage which holds twelve images of Bodhisattvas with butter lamps burning in front of the idols. There are many religious statues; huge stupas; paintings, a sacred scripture printed with gold dust and crushed bone powder of a divine Lama. At the highest level of the complex is a temple that has a frieze of Buddha.
Access to Tiger’s Nest is by mountainous unpaved paths – by foot or by horse. It involves a two-hour climb from the valley floor through pine forests and on the trail, is a water-powered prayer wheel and a cafeteria for refreshments. The trek is very scenic with views of the surrounding majestic mountains and emerald-green valleys.