Imagine chanting of monks around the fluttering colorful prayer flags on a clinging ancient Buddhist monastery, perched on the cliff face at 10, 000 feet high overlooking the Paro Valley! Hiking Paro Taktsang or Tiger’s Nest monastery was the most incredible site in my Bhutan diaries.
Hiking isn’t easy feet here but quite an effort. With a cheeky smile, they say that the more you huff and buff, the more sins you’ve committed. I am not sure about the sins though but it’s better to bump up your stamina with some brisk walking at least two weeks prior! I definitely found the strength to go for my pace and pressing on until the spectacular view of the tiger’s eye revealed in front of my eyes. Though you do have a donkey option here if you are unfit for the hike but how about overtaking the hitchhikers on tired mules! Renting the walking sticks at the base is the best advice I can offer you.
The hiking trail greets you with the row of giant prayer wheels housed in typical Bhutanese architectural building powered by flowing water. As you climb higher, plenty of pinecones lay scattered on the ground with surrounding wild roses and some bewildering flowers. Half-way up the hike, a beautiful tea house awaits you to get recharged and refueled. Up and up further you climb the trail, each bend surrounded by pine forest and fluttering prayer flags awe you by its aura. The higher you climb, the more prayer flags cover the sky with all band of colors. I heard some monks saying to curious hikers that by hanging stings of these prayer flags, the surrounding wind will deliver their prayers to the heavens. Quite interesting! You will also be greeted with a huge waterfall cascading through the mountains with Tibetan prayer flags all over the scene. Then comes the shutterbugs’ famous viewpoint for photographing the tiger’s nest monastery. As you come closer to the monastery, look out for rock looked like a human form of some mythological figure.
Finally, the approaching steep steps lead to the monastery doors. To my surprise, there were four temples inside unlike the other Monasteries of Bhutan. These four temples were interconnected through stairways and steps intricately carved out of the rocks. As you enter the temples, the fragrance of the incense wafting in the air soothes your soul. The shimmering gold on the Buddha, the painted frescoes on the walls and the colored hanging tapestry will definitely mesmerize you to soak in the tranquillity of the mystic place.