Saturday 20 Feb 2016
Our final day in Bhutan and we saved the best for last. With an early morning start we headed up the steep and gruelling trail to the Taktsang (or Tiger's Nest) Monastery. This is the jewel of Bhutan, its most revered monastery. It is a fairly strenuous 4-5 hour hike round trip, with a path winding up the hill to where the monastery is nestled into the rock. What adds to the difficulty is the altitude - a rise of 3,000 feet (900 metres) above the valley floor at an overall elevation of 10,240 feet (3,120 metres) above sea level. We definitely felt the elevation and it was a bit of a slog, but we made it, to be rewarded with the most awesome views of this imposing structure. The climb was made more difficult for us as we are both getting over a bad cold.
Guru Rinpoche arrived here in the 8th century flying from Tibet on the back of a tigress. Here he subdued the local demon then spent 3 months meditating in the cave that is still there today. He is credited with bringing Buddhism to Bhutan. The monastery itself was originally built in 1692. In 1998 it was destroyed by fire, but through a remarkable reconstruction has been brought back to its former glory.
Along the trail:
The Taktsang Monastery/Tiger's Nest: