The Great Monasteries of Bhutan and What to expect!
Bhutan, a beautiful place filled with divine and mystical monasteries, exquisitely beautiful natural sceneries, and scrumptious delicacies. Traveling from India to Bhutan is itself a great journey.
This place with the scope for splendid adventures and experiences has various world-famous monasteries with mind-blowing views and an exceptionally peaceful ambiance.
Famous Monasteries of Bhutan
Some of them being the famous Punakha Dzong monastery, upright and beautiful with its Bodhi tree and the chapel for the queen of Nagas, Lhuentse Dzong monastery with its extensive fortress and the magnificent view of the Kirichu river, Taktsang Monastery, popularly known as the Tiger’s nest monastery, with its cave temples, the dome with golden surfaces, prayer wheels, colorful flags, etc.
Tiger’s Nest or Taktsang Monastery
Now we can specifically talk about the trip to the Tiger’s nest or the Taktsang monastery which is famously located in Paro. In fact, this is probably the most famous and prominent monastery of Bhutan. Thousands of people hike up to this place.
Evidently, because it has lots to offer. Be it the view, the spiritual vibe, or the divinity of the temple, this place can be tremendously captivating. The food here is also a specialty, which we’ll discuss a little further in this article. The monastery was constructed in 1692.
The second buddha or ‘Rinpoche’ is believed to have meditated for about four months in a cave and it is said that he had flown from Tibet riding a tigress, hence the name Tiger’s Nest.
How to reach Tiger’s Nest?
Now let’s explore the way up to the monastery. The temple is located on a cliff end 900 meters above the Paro valley. Hence tourists can get fine views of the valley along with its natural beauty.
No vehicles are allowed till the front door of the monastery. Yes, I know your thought must’ve immediately drifted off to GPS but unfortunately, the roads are not navigable. Your only way up to the cliff temple is only through hiking.
The starting point of the hike from Paro town (10 miles north). You’ll have to hike from here but you can reach the town by car. The road trip to Paro town is 4 miles.
It is important to rely on a reputable tourist service or guide because this place can get a bit confusing, and without a proper guide, it can get quite hard to reach your desired destination.
The hike up to the cliff is a dusty, exhausting, and taxing trail so make sure that you have everything that you would probably require during the hike. Make sure to bring with you more than enough water, good quality hiking boots, some snakes for the trek, and a camera to capture your moments.
This hike is up is 5.5 miles and the level of hiking is above moderate. An average, healthy human can reach the top with a little bit of effort, and why not? When you get to see the beauty of nature up close during your hike then how wouldn’t you enjoy the hike? I know what would be the next question that pops up in your mind.
Whenever we visit a place, it is a must to get a taste of all the delicacies of the region. Of course, as I promised before, let’s talk about food. Halfway up the hike, there are cafeterias with traditional Bhutanese drinks and delicious vegetarian food.
They mostly have buffets. You can take a break from the hike and lavishly enjoy all the varieties of dishes available there. They also have washrooms along with cafeterias. Moving on, let’s discuss the other halfway hike to the monastery.
People who have difficulty in walking the first half can take the mules, but after that, there’s no other way to reach the point than to hike. The last section of the trek is a whopping 700 steps trail, which I admit can get a little challenging, but you can surely get there.
When you reach the monastery, you will be asked to remove your footwear before you enter in order to show respect to the divinity of the temple. Inside the temple, you can enjoy all the peace and serenity and take as many photos as you like. But make sure not to make any noises as it’s a sacred temple.
You cannot stay at the temple and hence your accommodation should be decided before you begin your trek. The journey to this place can be taxing, but it’s worth every effort.
It’s the perfect escape from the horrendously fast-paced world where everyone is always in a hurry. It is important to take some time out of your busy schedule for yourself and experience something different. Like this beautiful monastery.
It can be considered as a mental detox, a detox from the tiring work life, or a detox from all the hasty realities of life. Tiger’s nest monastery can be the best place for you.