The Taktsang Palphug Monastery is one of the most famous touristic destinations of the country and the cultural icon of Bhutan.Visiting the Paro Taktsang Monastery is an unforgettable experience thanks to its unique location and the views of surrounding majestic mountains and emerald green valleys.
Paro Taktsang (Dzongkha, also known as the Taktsang Palphug Monastery and the Tiger’s Nest), is a prominent Himalayan Buddhist sacred site and the temple complex is located in the cliffside of the upper Paro valley in Bhutan.
Taktsang is said to be the holiest site in Bhutan. It’s where Guru Rinpoche, also known as Padmasambhava, materialized some 1,300 years ago on the back of a flying tigress. He meditated for three years, three months, three weeks, three days and three hours in the 8th century. Padmasambhava is credited with introducing Buddhism to Bhutan and is the tutelary deity of the country. Today, Paro Taktsang is the best known of the thirteen Taktsang or “tiger lair” caves in which he meditated.
Taktshang clings to the rock towering 800 meters (over 2,600 feet) above the valley and is located 2,950 meters (9,678 feet) above the sea level. It takes about 2 hours walk to reach the monastery from the road at Ramthangkha, 12 kilometers from Paro town.
Interesting facts about Taktsang Monastery
- The monastery is made up of four temples and a collection of residential shelters that are uniquely designed to rest on the mountain side. Wooden bridges and stairs carved into the mountain connect the buildings, and each building has a balcony with a beautiful view of the Paro Valley.
- This monastery is one of the most prominent and scared places in Himalayan Buddhism where Guru Padmasambhava (Second Buddha) first landed in Bhutan in the 8th century.
- The temple at the highest level has a frieze of Buddha i.e. 3,000 feet above the valley and 10,000 feet above sea level, making the path up to the monastery very steep.
- Out of the eight caves, four are relatively easy to access. The entrance to the main cave is through a narrow passage. It holds twelve images of Bodhisattvas with butter lamps burning in front of these idols.
- Tiger’s Nest is notable enough to earn a visit from royalty. In 2015, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William, and Kate Middleton made the trek to the monastery while visiting Bhutan.
- However, the monastery has since been meticulously rebuilt and restored to its original form in 2005 by
Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the fourth king of Bhutan and the Government of Bhutan. The restoration works were undertaken at an estimated cost of 135 million ngultrums (more than2 million USD).