The Taksang Monastery
The Taksang Monastery is a spectacular site and a must-visit if you are on a holiday in the Taktsang Monastery kingdom of Bhutan. Without a doubt, the Taksang Monastery is the Taktsang Monastery Kingdom of Bhutan, one of the most visited monasteries in Bhutan. It is part of the famous and historic Paro Valley in Western Bhutan. The location of the monastery is a delight to the human eye. It lies in a spectacular position on a mountain, which overlooks the Paro Valley. Taksang means Tiger’s lair and implies to the Guru Padmasambhava, who used the tiger to get there.
It is believed that Guru Padmasambhava, who is considered the father of Bhutan’s sect of Mahayana Buddhism, arrived in Paro Valley from Tibet more than three thousand years ago. As per historians, he arrived on the back of a legendary tigress. He meditated at a cave for three months and the current monastery is believed to have been built at the same spot where he meditated. The place was called Taksang Lhakang or Tiger’s Nest in English. It is believed that the current monastery was built in the year 1692.
Some of the famous visitors to the spot are Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal., Thang Tong Gyalpo, Machig Labdrön, and Milarepa.
Visitors can have a closer look at Tiger’s Nest by climbing the hill on foot or by pony and it takes around 3 hours to reach the site. Mostly, people prefer to climb the hills on foot. However, one needs to be aware that the hike is not easy though and there are instances where people have stopped the climb in between. However, it offers breathtaking views of the monastery early when one starts climbing. Alternatively, if you are not a good climber, you can always use the horse’s back to reach the monastery.
Walkers can rest at the famous Taktsang Teahouse, which again is situated at a point where one can get spectacular views of the monastery. Once you have reached your goal, it is once in a lifetime sight to be in, as imagine simply hanging on a vertical 1000-meter-high cliff! Wow!
On a clear day, a visitor can get a superb view of the sacred peak of Bhutan, mount Chomolhari.
The monastery has seven temples to be visited. In the year 1998, the monastery was struck by a terrible fire; however recent restoration efforts have helped. The monastery campus also houses a cafeteria.
There are a total of nine sacred caves in the monastery. The caves are Machig Phug the cave where Machik Labdron meditated, Senge Phug the cave where Guru Rinpoche meditated on Vajra Kilaya, Pelphug the cave where Guru Rinpoche meditated for four months on phur pa’i lha tshogs. Other caves include Phagmo Phug, Kapali Phug, Chogyal Phug, Gedig Phug, Osel Phug, and Drolo Phug.
Additionally, the monastery is a sacred pilgrimage site for devotees. Devotees wishing to undertake the pilgrimage to Taksang and the nearby sacred sites should however obtain a valid special permit from the Directorate of Culture from the Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs. Ordinary tourists without this permit are not allowed to go beyond the Tsogyal Pangchung point before the Shelkarchu waterfall.