A trek to the Paro Taktsang Monastery in Bhutan

The Paro Taktsang Monastery is one of the most famous monasteries in Bhutan. It is one of the most venerated places of pilgrimage in the Himalayan region. It is known as the Sacred mountainside monastery, owing to its ornately designed temples & art, and its pensive, quiet meditation caves.

The monastery clings to rocky cliffs, towering 800 meters above the valley and is located 2,950 meters above the sea level. It takes a 2-hour walk to reach the monastery from the road at Ramthangkha, 12 kilometers from Paro town. The white building with the gold-plated dome, multicolored flags, golden-haired entreaty wheels, and a cave shrine mesmerizes every sightseer and aficionado. You can trek up to the monastery to take pleasure in the breathtaking view of the adjoining valley or appreciate opulent Bhutanese food at Taktsang caf´┐Ż.

The Monastery is nestled within rocky cliffs.
Image: Nagarjun Kandukuru on Flickr

The journey of tiger’s nest starts with the imagination of the spatial connectivity in the mind and the physical journey is going to be fascinating when moving towards it. It is only accessible by trekking. The physical boundary of tiger’s nest marks the beginning of “Paro”. Tickets can be bought in the marketplace before starting the trek. The main aspect of this journey is having a feeling of unreachable place from the bottom of the cliff.

The polished architectural manifestation of the Monastery is a good example of Buddhist craft. The complex has white buildings with golden roofs. The Monastery consists of 4 main temples and several dwellings. All buildings are interrelated by staircases with steps imprinted into the rock. Approximately every single building within the monastery complex has a balcony with a spectacular view of the adjoining area. The main shrine of the monastery consists of a prayer wheel is located in the courtyard of the temple. Every morning at 4 a.m. it is rotated by monks to mark the beginning of a new day.

Walking sticks for the trek.
Image: Nagarjun Kandukuru on Flickr

The interior design of the temple impresses with its lavish beauty: gold-plated domes and sparkling lights adorn the perimeter. In the hall of Thousand Buddhas, which is carved into the rock, a large statue of a tiger is positioned. The tiger is respected as the symbol of Paro Taktsang because of the legend, according to which the location of the Monastery was chosen by a tigress. There are eight caves in the monastery; four of them are moderately easy to access.

Any visit to Bhutan warrants a trek to the Monastery. It is a sight that one and all who visit Bhutan must marvel at!

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