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Sunday, September 20, 2009
Tiger’s Nest Monastery
Taktshang, also called theTiger’s Nest monasteryis in the middle of the Bhutanese mountains, several hours outside of Paro (the only city with an airport).Taktshangis the most famous of monasteries inBhutan. It hangs on a cliff at 3,120 metres (10,200 feet), some 700 meters (2,300 feet) above the bottom of Paro valley.A place of pilgrimage for Buddhists.
During the end of the 17th Century a monastery was built on the spot where the saint meditated and it is nowadays a popular pilgrimage site.Every Bhutanese has to visit it once in his lifetime.The monastery was devastated by fire in 1998 but the Bhutanese Government took immediate steps to restore the monastery to its original structure so that tourists could admire it like it was before. The monastery was rebuilt and consecrated in March 2005. Hundreds of pilgrims from throughout the country visit this holy place annually.
To visit it, you have to hike in the mountains.Climbing to the monastery is on foot or mule. The trek uphill can take up to three hours (one hour if you are an experimented walker) through villages and pine forests. The walk follows a steep zigzag trail through pine forests. A rest is possible mid-way at a teahouse where biscuits and drinks are available. Then it is possible either to sit outside the building and admire the monastery and its beautiful surroundings or if there is enough energy, to continue another thirty minutes to a closer viewpoint, which is definitely breathtaking.
To get to this monastery, one must make arrangements with a guide before entering Bhutan. One cannot travel around Bhutan without a guide, as outlined by national law. No photography is allowed inside the Tiger’s Nest.