”It always seems impossible until it’s done.”– Nelson Mandela
Taktsang Palphug Monastery more famous as Paro Taktsang is a Buddhist temple complex that clings to a cliff, 3120 meters above the sea level on the side of the upper Paro valley, Bhutan. Mountainous Paro valley is the heart of Bhutan; here the only international airport of the country is located. The Taktsang Palphug Monastery is one of the most famous touristic destinations of the country and the cultural icon of Bhutan.
It was first built in 1692 at a cave where Guru Rimpoche meditated in the 7th century A.D. Legend states that Guru Rimpoche flew to the site atop the back of a tigress and meditated in the cave for 3 years, 3 months, 3 days and 3 hours in order to subdue evil demons residing within it. The cave has been considered a sacred site ever since and many famous saints have travelled to meditate in it.
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. The main peculiarity of the monastery is its isolated location. It is only accessible by mountainous paths. The remote location of the monastery makes it amazingly beautiful and unique, but also creates technical difficulties. Without a doubt, a first time trip to Bhutan would not be complete without seeing the Tiger’s Nest.
The refined architectural appearance of the Monastery is shaped in the best traditions of Buddhist. The complex has white buildings with golden roofs. Paro Taktsang Monastery consists of the 4 main temples and several dwellings. All buildings are interconnected by staircases with steps carved into the rock. Almost every single buildings of the monastery complex has a balcony with a breathtaking view of the surrounding area. The main shrine of the monastery -the prayer wheel is located in the courtyard of the temple. Every morning at 4 a.m. it is being rotated by monks to mark the beginning of a new day.
The interior design of the temple impresses with its luxurious beauty: gold-plated dome and flickering lights that are illuminating golden idols. In the hall of Thousand Buddhas, which is carved into the rock, a large statue of a tiger is located. The tiger is respected as the symbol of Paro Taktsang because of the legend, according to which the location of the Monastery was chosen by a tigress. The tigress brought here on her back the founder of Bhutan’s Buddhism guru Padmasambhava.
The visit to Tiger’s Nest Monastery takes a full day. On average it takes between four and five hours to do the round trip hike, plus one more hour to tour the monastery. If by any chance you are in Bhutan, don’t miss out a trip to this beautifully enchanted Monastery.
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