|Prayer flags and paintings on rocks|
The trek is not as treacherous as it seems. The path through forests has been used for years by travelers and is well beaten. Occasional beams of sunlight dart through the trees making a round spot on the path under my feet. I relive my childhood and the euphoria of watching the dust particles sway around in beams of sunlight that stormed into our house through the cracks between curtains.
|Prayer wheels on the way to Taktsang Monastery|
Tip: Although it is only 900 mtr. above Paro valley but mules and horses are available for those who find it difficult to walk all the way through
|Stunning view of the Paro Valley below|
‘Taktsang Monastery’ (Tiger’s Nest) is where ‘Guru Rinpoche’ (Padmasambhava) flew on the back of ‘Yeshe Tsogyal’, wife of an emperor who transformed herself into a tigress. Guru Rinpoche came from Tibet and meditated in a cave near Tiger’s Nest before introducing Buddhism to the whole valley. It is said that during the end of his meditation, Guru Rinpoche transformed himself into eight incarnations. These incarnations can be seen in monasteries across Bhutan.
|Cave of Guru Rinpoche and a waterfall|
An hour of hiking brings me to the only cafeteria. I have had a good breakfast but I am starving right now. While I sit sipping black tea and watching amazing views of the monastery, a cat gently climbs up on my lap and asks for a biscuit. It so amazing that the aura of a place has its effect on animals too. The animals here don’t feel threatened by humans. Rather, they will walk up to you and ask for the love they know they will get.
|Taktsang Monastery from the cafeteria|
I end up having a heavy lunch which shows its consequences once I start climbing further. The path from cafeteria to the monastery is more steep and I have to take frequent breaks.
Tip: Don’t have heavy meals. Carry water and take small amount of snacks at regular breaks
Another hour brings me to a clearing filled with prayer flags. After that starts the descend to the monastery. I stop and drink some water at a waterfall on the way. No mineral water can match its purity. I find a neat spot to sit and just type down my thoughts as the cold mountain air whizzes through my hair.
|Can there be a better place to put down your thoughts?|
Tippy Tip: You will have to deposit your camera, laptop, shoes and wallet at the entrance. There is only one locker with a lock. If you are carrying something very precious, use it. Rest of the lockers are open. No one steals anything in Bhutan.
Once inside the monastery, the silence is so deep that it is almost screaming at me. I sit on the wooden floor and look outside the window as clouds descend upon the monastery engulfing everything. I come from India, and I know what an incense stick smells like. However, the fragrance of the incense sticks here is distinct. Something that I have not experienced before.
In eastern cultures, temples were made at places which were difficult to reach. It is believed, that all the effort that you put in reaching that place clears your mind off any ill thoughts and prepares you fully for the pilgrimage. The last three hours spent on the mountain were tiring and knocked the wind out of me. Probably, it even knocked out all the negative thoughts for me to fully experience the sound of silence.
Have you been to the Taktsang Monastery? I would love to listen to your experiences.
Software Engineer turned Travel Writer, Photographer, and Public Speaker on Responsible Travel. Entrepreneur in Responsible Rural Travel @ www.thefolktales.com