Paro Taktsang Dzongkhag is a Himalayan Buddhist sacred site, the temple complex is situated in the upper Paro Valley in Bhutan, the land of thunder dragon. Also known as the Taktsang Palphug Monastery and the Tiger’s nest, this place is surrounded by pristine scenery and carries a lot of religious and historical significance. This is one of the most renowned spots of Bhutan and is massively loved by the tourists. Many visitors state that the Tiger’s Nest is a must visit destination not only in Bhutan, but in the whole world. The distinctive location of Paro Taktsang makes it difficult for people to reach there by driving up. The most recommended and possible way to go there is by hiking up, or you can reach most of its way by hiring a horse. In case of hiking, the distance is around 4 miles round trip, the elevation gain is around 1700 feet, around 10,000 feet above the sea level, and it takes 6 to 8 hours to complete the entire trip.
The monastery is encapsulated by magical impressions and its legacy is adorned by tantalising stories and tales from the past. Taktsang is spelled as Stag Tshang in the Tibetan language and means Tigress Lair in literal terms. Padmasambhava, famously recognised as Guru Rinpoche, flew to Paro Taktsang from Tibet on the back of a tigress called Yeshe Tsogyal from Khenpajong, whom he is thought to have converted into a flying tigress. The Tiger’s Nest is said to have been sanctified to tame a tiger. The history of the holiness of this place is derived from the incident when the 8th century Guru, Padmasmabhava emerged in eight incarnated forms after meditating in one of the caves of the monastery devotedly. Another alluring name is Tenzin Rabgye, who built the temple here in 1692. It has been specified by many authors that Padmasmabhava was reincarnated in form of Tenzin. A plethora of Tibetan saints and eminent figures have come to the Tiger’s Nest to meditate, like Milarepa (1040-1123), Machig Labdron (1055-1145), and Thangton Gyelpo (1385-1464).
The structure of the place is exquisitely comprehensive and emanates senses which gives an absolutely diverse and magnificent experience to the visitors. The monastery buildings consist of four main temples and the residential shelters by acclimatising to the rock ledges, the caves, and the rocky terrain. All the buildings are unified through steps and stairways and all of them have balconies to offer artistic and heavenly views of the valley down below. Tholu Phuk is the name of the cave where Padmasmabhava first entered, and the cave where he meditated is called Pel Phuk. The wooden bridges along the paths just add to the whole enchanted feel of the place.