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Bhutan: Tiger’s Nest – The Takstang Monastery

Tigers Nest Monastery in Bhutan

Tigers Nest Monastery in Bhutan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Kingdom of Bhutan is the last remaining kingdom in Asia and is the only place in the world to measure Gross National Happiness.

Paro Airport is Bhutan’s only international airport, located in the Paro District.

Takstang means “Tiger’s Nest” and the monastery hangs on a cliff high above the Paro valley (about 10km). It is a hermitage on the face of a sheer 1,000m cliff, at an altitude of 3,000m.

Takstang Monastery, near Paro, Bhutan

It is possible to climb the mountain. You can cross valley by car to the other edge and then use the pony or just walk uphill. I takes me 40 minutes of heavy walk to reach the tea house (the only shelter on this route) and another 30 minutes to the stupa on the level of the hermitage. Ponies or mules do it in 3 hours.
It is often closed to the public but just seeing it from the outside is well worth the effort.
Slippery when wet! Trekking shoes are recommended.

Takstang Monastery, near Paro, Bhutan. Photo: Cezar DumitruPhoto: Cezar Dumitru

Takstang was built around 1600. It burned in 1998 and was rebuilt in 2000.

The place is highly sacred to the Bhutanese in that they believe Guru Rinpoche, the father of Bhutanese Buddhism landed here on the back of a flying tigress, actually the dakini Yeshe Tsogyal, his consort.

A number of famous masters have meditated in caves near the current monastery: Guru Rinpoche in his manifestation of Dorje Drollö meditated on the Kagyé cycle. After him, many great masters followed, among them were Milarepa, Padampa Sangye, Machik Lapdrön and Thangtong Gyalpo.

Takstang Monastery, near Paro, Bhutan. Photograph taken by Michael Reeve, 24 September 2004.Photo Michael Reeve, 24 September 2004.

Bhutan (Dzongkha: འབྲུག་ཡུལ་, tr ʼbrug-yul, “Druk Yul”; Nepali: भूटान, Bhūṭān), officially the Kingdom of Bhutan, is a landlocked state in South Asia, located at the eastern end of the Himalayas and bordered to the south, east and west by the Republic of India and to the north by the People’s Republic of China. Bhutan is separated from the nearby country of Nepal to the west by the Indian state of Sikkim, and from Bangladesh to the south by the Indian states of Assam and West Bengal.

In 2002, Bhutan’s national football team played Montserrat, in what was billed as The Other Final; the match took place on the same day Brazil played Germany in the World Cup final, but at the time Bhutan and Montserrat were the world’s two lowest ranked teams. The match was held in Thimphu‘s Changlimithang National Stadium, and Bhutan won 4–0. A documentary of the match was made by the Dutch filmmaker Johan Kramer.

Bhutan is the first country in the world to have banned the sale of tobacco under its Tobacco Act of 2010.

Takstang Monastery, near Paro, Bhutan. 2008-07-23


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