Solo trek To Tiger nest Paro or Paro Taktsang
“If you don’t hike up to Paro’s tiger nest , your Bhutan trip is incomplete.” This was the line I had heard from my friends and relatives who have been to Bhutan.Tiger Nest Paro trek in Bhutan is something I had been dreaming about for years and it did not disappoint.
Without a doubt, a first time trip to Bhutan would not be complete without seeing the Tiger’s Nest.The views from the hike to the top were worth it alone but the best part was yet to come.
Entry Charges to enter the Tiger’s Nest:- 500 Nu (Bhutanese ngultrum)
Location of the Tiger’s Nest
Taktsang literally means “Tiger’s lair,”.The monastery is located 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) to the north of Paro and hangs on a precarious cliff at 3,120 metres (10,240 ft), about 900 metres (3,000 ft) above the Paro valley, on the right side of the Paro Chu (‘chu’ Bhutanese means ”river or water”).
History of the Tiger’s Nest
The temple complex was first built in 1692 around a cave but it dates to the 8th century as a mediation site. According to legends,Guru Padmasambhava also known as Guru Rinpoche flew to this cave at the back of the flaming tigress and, is believed that he meditated for three years, three months, three weeks, three days and three hours in the 8th century. It is believed that the former wife of the emperor, known as Yeshe Tsogyal, willingly became a disciple of Guru Rinpoche and Padmasambhava transformed her into a Tigress for the purpose and landed at the cliff. Guru Padmasambhava emerged in 8 different forms and why the Tiger’s Nest is such an important site among Buddhists.
Legends aside, the scenic beauty will leave you speechless. It is one of the most spectacular places I have ever seen.
My Journey to Tiger’s Nest
So after staying in Thimpu and then heading to Paro, i had plan for Tiger Nest trek the very next day.The very early morning I woke up at 6 am, had coffee and took taxi to the base point. It is always recommended to start treks in the morning. I had read in other travelogues that it take almost 4 hours to ascend and 2 hours to descend. The Tiger Nest trek distance is 9 kilometers. I reached base camp at 8 am. The stalls were there to sell the souvenirs and hiking poles. I took the ticket from the ticket office.
There were two ways to reach Paro Taktsang.
1st One :- Route is long and is covered with feces(excreta) of horses. But this route isn’t steep one.
2nd One :- Route is the short cut but it is quite steep and lil bit dangerous for the beginners.
Note :- So if still the people are allergic to feces’ smell, Short cut is recommended. I chose the 2nd one.
As I was travelling solo, I met many people from Taiwan, America, Thailand, India and from many countries. After 5 minutes of trek, I got the glimpse of Tiger’s Nest perched on the cliff. On the way, what was most magnificent was the old lady, aged 86 ascending towards the Taktsang monastery with the help of walking Stick. That was the huge inspiration for all and people were motivating her on the way. On the way, you get to see tons of colored Prayer flags.
After 30 mins. Of continuous trekking, I stopped by the spot to drink water,There I met lady along with her son. After talk, I got to know that she was Indian and was living in New York from last 40 years and what amazed me the most was that she was 56 years old but she looked in her forties. After few minutes of Tiger Nest Paro trek, we reached Taktsang Cafeteria on the way. It took me almost 1hour 10 minutes to reach there. We preferred not to stop there and we moved on.
Glimpse of Taktsang Monastery
After few minutes, we had the beautiful glimpse of Taktsang Monastery. The scenic beauty was so alluring and ravishing. There was a spot where people were capturing the photos. We spend almost 10 minutes taking the photographs and adoring the exquisite beauty.
After that, the trail was easy and less monotonous. The bewitching scene of the Taktsang Monastery, under the clear sky, surrounded by mountains, worked as an elixir to me.
From the point, it was a short walk down a stone staircase. I crossed a bridge covered in prayer flags, and then made a slightly strenuous climb up to the monastery. There was a waterfall while crossing the bridge.
Reaching Tiger’s Nest
On reaching the Monastery, I submitted the mobile, camera and the bad to the security as Photography is prohibited in the Monastery. Then the Guide took our group on the tour of temples in the monastery. There are total 8 temples in the monastery. There were two must visit places in the monastery. One was the Tiger’s Cave. I entered the cave with the group, and believe me, the way to cave was moreover a task to accomplish.
Second place was the Thumb Imprint point where you have to stand few feet away from the point and have to approach the point with your closed eyes while your thumb erected towards it. If your thumb touches the point, it is believed to be good luck for you and you would get honor to visit the shrine again. After spending an hour in the monastery, I descended towards the base point. It took me almost 1:30 minutes to reach the base point.
Reaching Tiger’s Nest
As described earlier, there were shops selling souvenirs at the base point of Tiger Nest Paro trek. I bought some souvenirs and took the taxi back to the hotel.
Each and every phase of the time spent while hiking was remarkable. The overall experience , awe-inspiring and breathtaking one, was the one that I can relish upon throughout my life.
|From Hotel To Taxi Base Point via Taxi||500|
|Ticket to enter Taktsang or Tiger’s Nest||500|
Spare your full day for the Tiger Nest Paro trek . Don’t rush to cover other places on the same day.
As Tiger’s Nest is located 900 metres above the Paro valley, The only way to reach there is by Hiking. No vehicle can take you to the monastery. You can hire the horse to carry you most of the way there.
On an average, As Tiger Nest Paro trek takes 4 hours approximately for the round trip, 1 hour in the monastery, and half an hour in Cafeteria on the mid-way.
So, if you start by 8 am for Tiger Nest trek, you would be back by 2 pm approximately.
The hike starts at the bottom of the mountain, right at the car park. There will be people selling souvenirs and hiking poles and this is a place to hire a horse if necessary.
There was no Ticket fee to Paro Taktsang till Apr’17 ; But from May’17 onwards , the ticket fee is 550 Nu(Bhutanese Ngultrum) to enter the Paro Taktsang monastery.
The scenic beauty is so alluring and ravishing.
There is a spot where you can capture the photos after few minutes hike from Taktsang Cafeteria Point.
After your tour of the Tiger’s Nest, you will hike back the way you came. Make sure you get all the photos you want…this is something you will want to look back on forever.
There were two must visit points in the monastery. One is the Tiger’s Cave and other one is Thumb Imprint point. There is no other way to come back. The way while returning from the monastery is the same.
Keys to have the Best Experience and Making Your Tiger Nest Paro trek Memorable
Best season to visit : The best season is from October to December as the weather is clear and cool. The Spring is also the right time to visit. The weather starts getting heat up till it reaches May and from June to September, there is monsoon season.
Capturing the Memories by reaching early in the morning:- I would recommend to start early for the Tiger Nest trek as the best photography would be the midday and even getting here early helps you in avoiding the crowd.
Don’t procrastinate it to the last day:- As You know , Bhutan is spread in Mountains sometimes the weather amaze you such as rains or winds can be barrier for your trek. So , planning on the last day for Tiger Nest Paro trek would be cumbersome. TO be safe, So leave an extra day at the end of this trip.
Don’t go to trek on the very first day:– If you are planning for a stay for 3 days or more, Try not to go to this trek on the very first day. As it’s 18kms. To and fro trek, The trek can cause tiredness or body ache resulting into tiredness for the other Incredible tour of Bhutan.
What to Bring:– Bring water, chocolates, few snacks.There is a cafe located half-way up the trail but do not stop at it on the way up. If you want to beat the crowds bring a snack and some water to keep moving. There are benches to rest along the way.
What to Carry:- Carry small Trek bag along with you as it would be filled with Raincoat and the things mentioned above.
What to Wear:– I would suggest to do the Tiger Nest Paro trek with Track pants and T-shirts as these apparels would make you feel comfortable.
How fit do you need to be to do this hike?Anyone of average fitness can complete this hike. Take your time, it is not a race. You may want to bring hiking poles to help your knees on the descent.
Don’t points while entering the Monastery
- You are not allowed to enter the shrine in shorts. Your legs must be covered.
- Taking photographs in the Monastery is prohibited.
Keep Exploring my Blog. Happy Reading !!!