Hiking Tiger’s Nest on Bhutan Trip with Excursion2Inda
Tiger’s Nest or Taktsang Palphug Goemba, as the locals call it, is probably the most famous landmark in Bhutan. The monastery is perched atop the edge of a 1200 meter tall cliff at an elevation of 10240 feet above sea level. This is located just over 10km north of Paro.
The Legend Behind Tiger’s Nest
According to the legend related to Taktsang Goemba, Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche) is credited with introducing Buddhism to Bhutan. The legend goes that Guru Rinpoche flew to this location from Tibet on the back of a tigress from Khenpajong. This place was just a cave in the 8th century. He meditated here for three years, three months, three weeks, three days and three hours and the place became holy. The monastery was subsequently built around the cave where Guru meditated in 1692.
Time Taken For Hiking
Hiking to Tiger’s Nest can take a long time. How much time one can take depends on the stamina and fitness of an individual. It is better not to compare oneself with fellow travellers. Supremely fit persons can finish the two-way hike in as less as three hours. But most people will take more than five hours. Even people in the age group 70s and 80s manages to do the two-way hike. They can take as long as 8 to 9 hours.
For those unwilling to take the entire hike has an option to take horses as an alternative. Horses can ride visitors to a little more than half the hike. Horses can go to where a cafeteria is located.
Visitors normally halt at the cafeteria to rest for some time while going up to the monastery or while coming down. However, it is advisable to be very cautious while going on horses. A few accidents have happened in the past.
Hiking up is quite difficult physically but hiking down is not easy either. This is even more challenging when snow is scattered on the path.
Tiger’s Nest Monastery Timings
Most guides advise tourists to start the hike in the morning. Please note the monastery closes between 12 pm to 1 pm for lunch.
It is, therefore, better to time the hike in such a fashion that a visitor reaches there much before 12 pm or after 1 pm. Normally, it takes half an hour to around forty minutes to explore the Monastery from inside. The Monastery consists of four main temples and several caves. Atmosphere inside the monastery is quite mystical.
Tourists have to submit all their stuff outside. Please be mindful that no photography is allowed inside Tiger’s Nest.
Precautions while planning to hike Tiger’s Nest
It is better to carry sufficient quantity of water on the hike. There is just one cafeteria on the midway where guests can get water. Visitors should also be mindful of the fact that weather can play a spoilsport any time in Bhutan. It is better to keep one day spare in the kitty for this hike. While doing the hike, it is preferred to wear hiking shoes.
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