Taktshang / Tiger’s Nest Monastery Trek, Paro, Bhutan

We had the privilege of visiting this beautiful place during our Photo-tour to Bhutan.

Taktshang or the Tiger’s Nest monastery is regarded as one of the holiest sites in Bhutan.

The cave was named after Guru Padmasambhava (also known as Guru Rinpoche) who built the monastery around the Taktsang Senge Samdup cave in the 8th centurey where he is said to have meditated in the 8th Century. He flew there from Tibet on the back of Yeshe Tsogyal, whom he transformed into a flying tigress for the purpose of the trip.

According to local folklore, a tigress used to frequent the cave and hence the name Taktshang or the Tigress Lair.

We started quite early in the morning which is the best time to start. The first rays of the sun was hitting the mountains and winds were blowing across the rice fields.

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We passed through several water wheels which keep the giant wheel rotating automatically with the flow and also makes the bell ring. What an idea!

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This was our first view of the Tiger’s Nest! It looked like a tiny white building hanging from the cliff. We were excited!

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Some people prefer to go my horses. Being a lover of walking, we decided to trek up the hill enjoying the views.

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We decided to walk at our own pace, talking to nature.

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There were numerous waterfalls on the way. I decided to take a shot.

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The whole place was full of hundreds of prayer flags, it was lovely to hear their flutter and feel the prayers written on them mixing with the air.

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No matter wherever you are, you never loose sight of the monastery and it doesn’t seem we are getting closer.

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We forgot to have breakfast in the morning and by sometime, I was really hungry and thirsty. Seeing the cafeteria was a big relief.

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After getting energized with tea and biscuits, I left for the last stretch.

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There were some old wooden houses.

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And some beautiful flowers too.

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The prayer wheel.

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I saw these in many places around Bhutan. They are offered to the Gods I guess.

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The last stretch of the trek takes you down and then up steeply. This flowing stream was invigorating. Wish, I could stay in this house there.

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A priest on the way to the main monastery. He as staying in the monastery for several months.

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And finally we reached!

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As with most of the monasteries in Bhutan, photography was not allowed inside. That was good in a way. I spent some time meditating in one of the rooms and there were no sounds of shutters.  It was an amazing experience.

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Coming down did not take much time or effort. It was getting hot and sunny and surely it would have been difficult for the people who were ascending at that time.  It can take one and a half hour going up, down a bit shorter.

We then headed to Drukgyel (Drukgyal) Dzong Paro.

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This post is written by Saurabh Chatterjee. He is a travel photographer and a photography trainer.
He strives to ‘make every camera-owner a great photographer through his Photography workshops and Photo Tours and Photowalks.
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