Monday, October 17, 2011

The Tiger's Nest

Probably the most famous pictures of Bhutan are of Taktsang in Paro, also known as the Tiger's Nest. It is an incredibly sacred place of the Buddhist tradition in Bhutan. According to tradition Guru Rimpoche, who spread Buddhism in Bhutan, rode a flying Tigress and landed at this particular place on a cliff above Paro. Now, on that very spot, stands an amazing monastery. We were not allowed to take pictures inside the temple itself but below are some of the best pictures from the hike up to it and the outside.

If you look really close (you can click on the picture to blow it up) you can see Taktsang sort of behind the clouds. I took this picture from a restaurant in the valley. We drove about 5-10 km and then began the hike up. Our guide, Tsewang, claimed that young healthy people can make the hike in about 2 hours... We decided that a great use of our energy would be to all guess how long it would take. Unfortunately, those who had more faith in us, guessing between 2 and 2 1/2 hours were the farthest off as it took us over 4 to get there. (Granted, we did stop at this beautiful tea break place on the way up... but we were there for less than an hour)

The day that we made the hike was actually a Buddhist holiday celebrating the first sermon by the Buddha. This meant that there were a lot more people on the path than a typical day. In order to avoid the crowds our guide took us on a "short cut." In contrast to the well traveled path, our way was steep and barely distinguishable from the forest... which I must admit made the hike even more epic.

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