A Royal Hike to the Tiger's Nest


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September 23rd 2006
Published: October 8th 2006
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22/09/06 Taktstang - The Tiger's Nest

Taktsang Temple monastry is probably the most famous site in Bhutan and revered as a holy place built on the spot where Guru Rimpochey, the Great Buddhist Master landed on his Tigress after flying from India in the 8th Century and meditated in a cave high up on the cliff side. The shrine in the cave was slowly added to with additional buildings until the monastic temple was formed. Destroyed by fire in the 1990's, the temple was completely re-built and only finished and re-ordained in recent years.

Legend has it that the gold statue of Guru Rimpochey was just too heavy for the men carrying it up the mountainside (When hiking up the steep steps from 2200m - 3100m you can really appreciate that it would have been hard for them!). This caused the statue to speak out and tell the men just to leave it there on the mountainside. They obeyed the statue's command and continued their ascent to the cave. When they arrived, they found that the statue was already there in place in the shrine as it had flown on ahead of them.

We stopped for tea after
Perched Above the CloudsPerched Above the CloudsPerched Above the Clouds

...and seemingly impossibly clinging to the cliffside by it's fingertips stands the iconic Tiger's Nest Temple - Taktsang
an initial hour's climb and then headed on up to the temple. Additional coloured flags adorned the route and by another smaller shrine, en route, pine needles were scattered on the ground forming a green carpet over the path. We were advised that the Queen of Bhutan, Her Majesty Queen Ashi Tshering Pem Wangchuck, (one of the 4 Queens, also 4 sisters) mother of the Prince and heir to the Bhutanese throne was visiting the temple that day.

In the holy shrine to Guru Rimpochey, we were offered Chai by the head monk- milky sweet tea, with small crunchy rice puffs sprinkled in. Unfortunately we had to drink quite quickly because the Queen was approaching...

From the temple we looked back along the path and could see the Queen and her entourage rapidly approaching. In the distance we could just make out her royal blue Toego with rolled back pink cuffs. The sound of horns, the welcome music for a royal welcome, started to resound across the valley echoing of the mountainside and the Queen arrived. She stopped to meet us on the temple steps, shaking our hands and asking where we were from, whilst our Bhutanese guide,
Bhutanese Warrior in traditional dressBhutanese Warrior in traditional dressBhutanese Warrior in traditional dress

Ok - it's me again.....Don't you just love the boots!!!
observing strict protocol looked down at his shoes and avoided catching her eye or looking directly at her.

We descended back down to our lunch stop, thrilled with having met one of the Bhutanese Royal Family and at such a stunning location. I proceeded to try on an old Bhutanese warrior's costume and posed, complete with sword and particularly striking boots!!!

Descending the rest of the way through the blue pine forest and hanging Spanish moss was beautifully peaceful. The sound of the rushing water of the steep mountain streams and the light ringing sound of the giant water turned prayer wheel was the perfect accompaniment to the scenic mountain views.

We rounded off the day with a late afternoon visit to the oldest Buddhist temple in Bhutan, the 1200 year old Kyichu Lhakhang Temple. It houses a rare statue of Buddha as a Prince, similar to a famous statue in the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet. In the temple grounds stands an orange tree that bears fruit all year round. Orange trees don't grow in Paro at an altitude over 2000m but this tree grows on holy soil, which, allegedly is why it flourishes and provides fruit. Sure enough there were oranges all over it... and they didn't look plastic!!!


Additional photos below
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WaterfallWaterfall
Waterfall

The route up to the Tiger's Nest crosses a waterfall over a tiny bridge. Prayer flags flutter in the wind, spreading their prayers down over the valley
ChiliesChilies
Chilies

Hanging out to dry on Paro High Street
The Holy Orange TreeThe Holy Orange Tree
The Holy Orange Tree

Look hard and you can see the fruit!


8th October 2006

Only Four Queens?
Only 4 queens? We saw more than that when we were in San Fransisco together, remember? By the way, did you know that there are major road closures in Yosemite now, after a massive rock fall? Just as well we did the trip when we did, coz now you can't even reach Bridal Veil Falls. It started as a trickle of rocks on April 29, then it increased the last week of May, when it left 250 to 300 tonnes of debris. Highway 140 is buried under a 300 ft deep pile of rocks. It's now closed indefinitely, and threatens to block the Merced River! Ok, keep on blogging! ..fish..
10th October 2006

Did you manage to take any photos of the Queen?
10th October 2006

what is this all about
do you get yhis mat .i want pics of you not jugs
18th October 2006

Bhutanese Warrior my eye!
I'm pretty sure I've seen you wearing something similar on nights out in Bournemouth!! They are definately YOUR shoes!!!
8th May 2009

The Tigers Nest Rocks!
Beautiful photos! The London Snowman, www.thelondonsnowman.co.uk has just visited The Tigers Nest Monastery and LOVES it, look here www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Rs_mifGyo8 _/\_
18th September 2010

just got back
I just got back yesterday from visiting taksangh monastery and I am in spiritual ecstasy!!!!We are truly lucky to have been there-it should be a wonder of the world.
13th January 2011

Visit to Tiger's Nest Temple - Taktsang
Can I visit Tiger's Nest Temple - Taktsang ith my own motor cycle from West Bengal?
13th January 2011

Visit to Tiger's Nest Temple - Taktsang
Can I visit Tiger's Nest Temple - Taktsang with my own motor cycle from West Bengal?
17th March 2012

My visit to Bhutan
I just returned last night from Nepal, Bhutan and Thailand. I was thrilled to make it to the Tiger's Nest Temple after a 3 hour tough climb. Five of us made it out of a group of 18. I'm 76 and the other four are in their 60's. I'm curious as to how large a group was with the Queen? Did she walk both ways? We saw a few people riding horses up but then they had to walk down. In Punakha we met Princess Sonan Dechen who had gone to Stanford with Chelsea Clinton. I loved my vsit to Bhutan.

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