Amazing Bhutan – Tiger’s Nest
As soon as the peaks of Everest and Kanchenjunga emerged from behind the clouds, my sister and I went shutter crazy. We were on a flight to Bhutan, and we were hovering over the mighty Himalayas. Mandira, a Bhutanese girl who had made friends with us on the flight, looked bemused at our child-like glee. She had graciously shared with us recommendations on the Bhutan tour itinerary as well as her tips on things to do in Bhutan.
As we descended into Paro, we flew over green valleys, deep mountains, and the silver tinted course of Paro river. The plane tilted its way through two mountains before finally landing at the airport. A huge billboard with the photo of the royal family welcomed us to the Kingdom.
Thimpu & Paro
Thimphu is the most modern city in Bhutan with an abundance of restaurants, internet cafes, nightclubs and shopping centres. However, it still retains its’ cultural identity and values amidst the signs of modernization. Thimphu is one of the few towns in Bhutan that have been equipped with ATM banking facilities and is a good place to stock up on some currency.
Paro is a valley town in Bhutan, west of the capital, Thimphu. It is the site of the country’s only international airport and is also known for the many sacred sites in the area. North of town, the Taktsang Palphug (Tiger’s Nest) monastery clings to cliffs above the forested Paro Valley. Northwest of here are the remains of a defensive fortress, Drukgyel Dzong, dating from the 17th century.
Tiger’s Nest Monastery
Guru Padmasambhava, popularly known as Guru Rinpoche visited and sanctified Bhutan in the 8th century when evil spirits abounded and harmed people.
Legend has it that Guru Rinpoche flew to this site on a tigress’ back to subdue a local demon. Thereafter, he meditated here for three months.
Taktshang Goemba or Tiger’s Nest Monastery was blessed and sanctified as one of Bhutan’s most sacred religious sites. It hangs on a cliff and stands above a beautiful forest of blue pine and rhododendrons.
Tourists can enter the monastery as per these timings as long as your guide has arranged the standard permit in advance:
8 AM to 1 PM and 2-5 PM daily, October – March
Until 6 PM, April – September.
You have to register with the security at the entrance and deposit your bags and cameras.
Camera and Photography is not allowed inside the monastery.
Chele La Pass at over 13,000 ft to the west above the Paro Valley is the highest road pass in the country and has amazing views of the Himalaya especially that of Mt. Jhomolari, Bhutan’s most sacred peak at over 22,000 feet.
Chele La Pass is a one and a half hour drive from the valley floor in Paro. Apart from the beautiful view, the pass is also a hot spot for flora & fauna.
With its virtually untouched forests and ancient trails, it is an ideal location for Himalayan hiking.
The mountain slopes are covered in fields of white poppy (endemic to Haa and not found anywhere else in the world), dense forests of fir trees and several varieties of ferns. You also get to enjoy the beauty of pristine lakes thriving with rainbow trout.