About Tiger’s Nest Monastery
Located in the cliffside of the upper valley in Bhutan, Paro Taktsang is an eminent Buddhist sacred site and is also known as Tiger’s Nest or Taktsang Palphug Monastery. This temple has become the folk icon of Bhutan which Hangs at an uncertain cliff at 10240 feet above the Paro valley, reaching the temple is only possible through a mountainous route. The remote location makes it difficult to reach but also makes it beautiful, unique and an unforgettable destination at the same time and it is one of the best places to visit in Paro.
The glistering lights, golden dome and idols make its interior even more amazing. A large statue of a tiger is located in the hall of a thousand Buddhas, which is carved out of a rock. The buildings are interconnected and the stairs are carved out of the rocks, and there are windows in every building which gives a glorious view. To mark the beginning of a new day, the monks rotate the prayer wheel everyday at 4 AM which is located at the courtyard of the temple and is the main shrine of the temple.
The rock slopes are almost vertical on the right side of Paro Chu. 'Chu' here refers to rivers or water in Bhutanese. The temple is devoted to Padmasambhava which is also known as Gu-Ru mTshan-bragyad Lhakhang which translates as 'the temple of the guru with eight names'. During March or April, a festival called Tsechu is celebrated in the Paro valley in the honor or Padmasambhava.
How to Reach Tiger’s Nest Monastery
The nearest airport is Paro (PBH) which is almost 6 kilometers away from Paro Valley and it takes almost 25 minutes to reach Paro valley by car.
There are four more airports near Paro from India, from where travelling to Paro is accessible.
1.Bagdogra (IXB) is 319 kilometres away and it takes almost 8 hours to reach there by car. You can travel by bus which costs almost $5.
2. Saidpur (SPD) is 360 kilometres and it takes 9 hours and 30 minutes to reach Paro valley. Buses are also available to travel to Paro, which can be taken from Jalpaiguri to Bhutan Post.
3. Biratnagar (BIR) is 440 kilometres away and it takes almost 11 hours to reach Paro valley from there. Buses and trains are also available to travel to Paro.
4. Bhadrapur( BDP) airport is 357 kilometres away and it takes almost 9 hours to reach there. From here you need to drive to Siliguri and from Siliguri you can take a bus to Paro.
You need to reach the base camp first and from the camp, the taxi will take you to upper Paro in 35 minutes, from where you have to walk to Taktsang.
Best Time to Visit Tiger’s Nest Monastery
The temperature differs from season to season, the best time to visit taktsang is September to November or March to April, this is the time when the temperature is the best and the sky is clear.
Summers: In the summer season, the average temperature is from 15°to 20°. At this time, the temperature is moderate with nice natural breeze, and one can see clear sky. At this time, a cool and natural air conditioner and beautiful sky will help you enjoy your trip. March and April are the best suitable to visit Paro.
Monsoon: India and Bhutan have almost similar monsoon time, from July to September, this time when there is heavy rain and humidity which can spoil your trip to Paro Taktsang, however, September can still be suitable to visit as there is very less rain and you could enjoy the trip.
Winters: In winters, the temperature can be very low, 9° to -9°, in which there would be fog, snow and a very slippery route to walk on but November is still the suitable month to visit Paro as the temperature would be moderate and nice.
What Not to Miss at Tiger’s Nest Monastery
1. Chele La Pass: Covered with untarnished forests, Chele La Pass is flourished with unique flora and fauna. It is the highest motorable road located at 13000 feet between the Paro and Haa valley which give spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and most importantly Mt. Jomolhari which is a sacred mountain at the height of 22000 feet.
2. Rinpung Dzong: Having a very spiritual environment, Rinpung Dzong is a beautiful monastery and fortress and is known for its magnificence. It is an important holy site in which illustrations of Buddha are also placed and timings for the same are 9 AM to 5 PM.
3. National museum of Bhutan: Visit the National Museum of Bhutan to observe and gain knowledge about the art and masterpieces of Bhutan, like old paintings and statues. The beautiful and rich art creations in the galleries, some of which are drawn on scientific lines and other creations in the museum will take you to the past from the modern era and the timings of the museum are 9AM to 5PM.
4. Drukgyal Dzong: Located on a ridge in the upper paro valley, Drukgyal Dzong is one of the most beautiful architectures in Bhutan. It embraces Utse, which is the central tower building. Surrounding the courtyard are rectangular buildings called Shabkhor and there are secret tunnels which fetch water from the river. The architecture of this spot will make you drown in its beauty.
5. Tachogang Lhakhang Bridge: a 600 year old bridge, which is also known as the iron chain bridge, crosses the Paro Chu to the Dzong. This was the first bridge built in Bhutan which is made up of wood and iron.
6. Dungtse Lhakhang: Providing an in depth knowledge of Buddhism, the Dungtse Lhakhang mesmerises visitors with its beautiful architecture and rich history. Located between Paro and Dopshari Valley, it is a buddhist shrine, which is rare and exceptional in Bhutan. Also, there are a few Buddhist paintings and iconographies in Dungtse Lhakhang.
7. Druk Choeding: One of the Magnificent monasteries in Paro, Druk Choeding has the existence of seated statue of future buddha which is called Jampa. It is a 16th century old monastery which also houses war artefacts. It has a pleasant vibe and a delightful panoramic view of the valley. Near the monastery, there is a market where one can go shopping by walking.
8. Kyichu Lhakhang: Built in the 7th century, Kyichu Lhakhang is also known as Lho Kyerchu or Kyerchu temple. It is a beautiful monastery with great significance. There is a miraculous belief by the legends that this monastery was built by the king in one night. There are attractive paintings of Buddhist Gurus. One can gain a lot of knowledge and facts about Bhutan and Himalayan Kingdom.
9. Paro Airport, Bird’s Eye View Point: Paro airport is the only international airport in Bhutan, which is located in between the mountains and Bird’s Eye view point. It is situated near the airport and gives a magnificent view of the city.
10. Dzongdrakha Goemba: Located on the western side of Paro valley, above the Bondey village, Dzongdrakha Goemba is known as mini Taktsang. This Saintly place contains four shrines, Drolma, Guru Rinpoche, Maitreya, and Tsheringma. It is a beautiful place which visitors sometimes fail to notice because of its old looking exterior, but it is a heavenly place to visit.
11. Paro Chhu: “Chhu” here refers to the river or water, it is a beautiful place where you can spend a great time. The river gives a glorious look to Paro Taktsang and Paro Dzong when it passes through them.
12. Archery Ground: Archery is the national sport of Bhutan and is played here in a very traditional and professional manner. The archers stand at a 100 meter or more distance to shoot the bird’s eye perfectly and the ground is well maintained. The timings for archery are 9 AM to 5 PM.
Other Essential Information About Tiger’s Nest MonasteryLocation: It is located in the taktsang trail BT, Taktsang trail in Bhutan.
Height: 10400 feet
Difficulty to reach: Paro Taktsang is located in the lap of the mountains, it's difficulty level is moderate but even if it looks difficult, it is worth the effort. The spectacular view and the beautiful mountains would be worth the difficulty.
Prayer timings: Morning at 5:30 AM, afternoon 12 Noon and 3:00 PM and in evening 7:00 PM.
Average temperature: The average temperature is -9° to 9°in winters and 15° to 20° in summers.
Duration required: It takes almost 2-3 hours to reach there and you need to stay there for almost an hour, so 6-7 hours would be required for an amazing trip.
Distance from nearest airport: The nearest airport is Paro (PBH) almost 6 kilometers away from Paro valley and takes almost 20-25 minutes to reach Paro valley.
Trek Route to Tiger’s Nest Monastery (Paro Taktsang)
The hike up the Paro Taktsang begins with the base of the mountains, which is a diet trail filled with rocks, gravel and sand patches along the way.
The people who cannot climb, there are horses to take them to the top.
There is a cafeteria in between, where you can sit, relax and have something to eat to gain energy for the remaining route. Also, this point is very beautiful to see the clear sky and click pictures.
The remaining half route is a bit easier and less intense than the first. Moreover, there is a beautiful photography point from where you can see the monastery and click beautiful pictures. Then there are stone stairs to climb, then a bridge and then more stairs to reach the final destination.
Things to Carry while Visiting Tiger’s Nest Monastery (Paro Taktsang)
-Carry a jacket or a layer to stay warm if you feel cold.
-Water bottles are required to stay hydrated.
-Take some snacks to eat or stop at the cafeteria to get some energy for the trek.
-You can also carry a hiking stick which would be helpful throughout the trek.
-Carrying some energy bars would be good to get energy while trekking as it is a long route.
-Carrying a raincoat would help you to be on the safer side as the place receives frequent rains.
Uniqueness of Tiger’s Nest Monastery (Paro Taktsang)
Paro Taktsang is the heart of Bhutan, and is located 10,400 feet high at a very remote and wonderful location in the lap of mountains. The views of the surrounding mountains and the natural beauty makes it a splendid experience for the visitors.
The interior design has a magnificent beauty with the glistering lights, golden dome and golden idols make its interior even more amazing. A large statue of a tiger is located in the hall of thousand Buddhas, which is carved into the rock, all the buildings are interconnected by stairs carved on the rocks.
The remote location and the natural beauty around Paro Taktsang and the mountains and the interior of Paro Taktsang and the difficulty to reach the location which is worth the efforts, makes it a unique and amazing place.
History of Tiger’s Nest Monastery (Paro Taktsang)
In the 8th century, when the Indian Guru Padmasambhava, who believed to have introduced Buddhism in Bhutan, meditated around Senge Samdup Cave, Paro Taktsang. It got the popular name, Tiger’s nest because it was believed that he was transferred to the cave on the back of a tigress. Here the Guru meditated for three years, three months, three weeks, three days and three hours. From the 8th century onwards, the Buddhist monks visited here and it became the holy shrine.In the 17th century, Nagwand Namgyal, who belonged to the unifier of Bhutan as a Nation State, gave the idea of building the monastery near the holy caves. At the end of the 17th century,i n 1692, the monastery was built by Bhutan’s leader at that time, Gyalse Tenzin Rabgye.
Places to Stay Near Tiger’s Nest Monastery (Paro Taktsang)
There are numerous resorts and hotels to stay near Paro Taktsang, the closest and beautiful places are:
1. Tiger’s nest resort: A comfortable resort with 36 luxurious rooms and beautiful bhutanese carved design, stone pathway, slate rooms and oak floor and staircase with luxurious bathrooms, wifi, lounge and bar which facilitates all the luxury and ease to the visitors.
2. Kichu resort: The comfortable resort which provides best rooms, restaurants serving amazing cuisines, bar and spa and a garden with natural beauty around and all the facilities to relax and enjoy the trip to the fullest.
3. Taj Tashi: It is a royal hotel with a blend of the traditional and modern facilities to relax and be comfortable in the hotel after a tiring trip. The hotel with 66 rooms provides all the facilities like wifi, swimming pool, bar, free parking a lot more.
Places to Eat in or near Tiger’s Nest Monastery (Paro Taktsang)
1. Taktsang cafeteria: The Taktsang cafeteria which is located at the trekking route to paro taktsang offers delicious food to the visitors to get energy while trekking to paro taktsang. The visitors enjoy a yummy meal and drinks along with getting relaxed and taking a break from the trek.
2. Champaca cafe: This cafe offers finger licking asian cuisine, pizza, contemporary food and coffee with vegetarian and vegan friendly food options.
3. Park 76 cafe and club: Offering a variety of asian cuisine, coffee and alcoholic and non alcoholic beverages, the place has a good seating arrangement along with live music.
4. Mountain cafe: Mountain cafe offers a huge variety of fast food, pizza, coffee and other beverages which are available in gluten free, vegan and vegetarian friendly delicious options.
Travellers Tips to Tiger’s Nest Monastery (Paro Taktsang)
1. Even if the weather is cold, trekking will make you feel hot, so wearing light clothes will make you feel comfortable.
2. Your bags would be kept in lockers and phones and cameras are not allowed at the monastery, but your safety is in your hands so keep them in a safe place.
3. Make sure you stay hydrated during the trip as you have to do a long trek for which you need energy and proper hydration.
4. Wear your comfortable shoes and clothes to be comfortable and enjoy the trip without any hustle.
5. If you are allergic to dust, make sure to keep a scarf as there might be dust in the air due to people or horses around.