Almost every photo is of this beautiful place when one enters Bhutan on Google by image. We never had a defined itinerary but a must visit place was Tiger’s Nest. As a result our first destination on arrival was to trek to this alluring monastery. Tiger’s Nest is gaining global popularity for not only being one of the holy sites for Buddhists but also for its spectacular views.Keeping this in mind,we arrived as early as 7.30 am at the entrance of the place to beat the tourists.
One can opt for the horse ride up till 2/3 of the trek or trek the whole trail.Needless to say we started to trek enjoying one of those perfect mornings.Neither sunny nor too cloudy. It was the kind of day which screams -“Put on those shoes.Let’s hike”.
The first leg of the trek is mainly through forests with pretty decorated small buildings with water streams.Some had water-powered prayer wheels along with prayer flags letting out a subtle music inducing serenity to the surroundings.
The sneak peek inside and out of the forests continues for a while and you catch the splendid views of Paro mountains.We spotted some deep red rhododendrons along the way as well. At one of the turns I looked up to find the lovely view of the monastery. It was sitting up on the edge of the cliff looking regal with surrounding majestic stone wall like mountains and passing clouds.
I was totally awestruck by the views and then began my futile attempts to capture what my eyes saw. The monastery views left me mesmerized and I completely forgot to click any of the trail (Oops!). After good hour of me gawking at the monastery we reached the ridge marked by prayer flags followed by series of prayer wheels and a breathtaking view of the monastery. The cafeteria was a short walk from here.
We continued our trek after a quick coffee session.Enjoying the changing yet eye-catching views we climbed up the steep hill but the monastery still seemed afar.My friend got chatty with the local guides and it was only then I knew the spiritual significance of the place.Apart from the famous story ,Guru Rinpoche is largely credited for Buddhism in the country and is even referred as “second buddha”. As a result his place of meditation became holy and came to be known as Tiger’s Nest. We reached our second stop where not just the monastery but also the huge stone walls of the mountain seize your attention.
From here the stones have been cut and stairs have been built to reach the monastery.The prayer flags greet all through out and the huge stream beside makes the surrounding environment calm and serene (Again! No photos. Aaargh!).More over the mind goes on auto pilot mode of calmness.Nature has such a calming effect! After innumerable descent and ascent of 3 hours we reached the Tiger’s Nest short of breath and rumbling stomachs.
We took turns to visit the temples inside. What stuck me the most is the silence which prevails inside even with tens of people around. No ringing bells,no chanting from the priest or rumblings of the devotees.Sitting with complete absence of sound surrounded by beautiful paintings and breathtaking views through the window is an absolute rarity.
It was a good decision to start the trek early. We got ample time to enjoy the surroundings. By the time we finished visiting the monastery the tourists/devotees were starting to increase.We started out trek back leisurely and read few messages on the flags as well.As I read each message, I couldn’t help but think – Beautiful country with beautiful people.
- Start the trek early.You can avoid the tourists and enjoy the surroundings at your own leisure.
- Trek difficulty – Medium.
- Drink lots of water since the monastery is at altitude of 3118 mts (10,232 feet).
- Wear full arm shirts and full length bottoms.The dress code is pretty strict and you are not allowed if you don’t adhere to it.