The Tiger’s Nest


What a great way to end our stay in Bhutan–by hiking to Taktshang Monastery, more popularly known as The Tiger’s Nest.

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The Tiger’s Nest

If you were following Kate’s and William’s recent visit or happened to catch Bill Weir’s CNN show about Bhutan on The Wonder List, this will be a familiar sight.

What  you HAVEN’T seen is THIS shot.

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We range in age from 64 to 80, and the 80 year old could walk circles around the rest of us!

Peter’s watch has a cool feature.  It records the altitude, so these were our starting and high points.

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Our version of base camp

 

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The high point

So what’s the back story?  Whenever Tashi, our guide, relates a local legend to us, he starts it off by saying “It is believed”, so I will too.

It is believed that in the eighth century, the king of Bhutan was possessed by a demon. Padmasambhava, the great Indian Guru, who was visiting the king of Tibet at that time, heard about the demon. He turned his consort into a flaming tigress, flew to the mountain on her back, and converted the demon to Buddhism. After his exorcism, the king converted all of his subjects to Buddhism.

His work done, Guru Rimpoche, (Padmasambhava’s more easily pronounced name) meditated in a cave for either three years, or three months, or three years, three months, three weeks, and three days, depending on who is telling the story. He prophesied that a magnificent temple would be built on the site of the cave.

It took until the 17th century for the prophesy to be fulfilled, but it was well worth the wait.  In 1998, the temple complex was destroyed by fire, and was subsequently rebuilt.

The Tiger’s nest is Bhutan’s version of Mecca.  Most Bhutanese try to make a pilgrimage to the Tiger’s nest at least once in a lifetime.  It is believed that you shed your sins along the way.  Let me tell you, you shed SOMETHING as you make that climb.

Although there is an alternate mode of transportation,

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You could ride one of these guys to the top–BUT they tend to favor the edge of the road.

we chose the path most taken. It starts out wide, and then gets progressively narrower.

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There is a cafe located part way up the mountain, a good resting spot, or the end of the journey for those that find the altitude or the climb too strenuous.

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The view of the cafe from the Top

Was it a spiritual experience?  You bet!

Prayer flags

Prayer flags

I have no idea what these are

I have no idea what these are

Peter crossing the bridge

Peter crossing the bridge

Our departing view

Our departing view

 

 

18 thoughts on “The Tiger’s Nest

  1. I am so enjoying your posts though I’m not sure I envy you the walk to the Tiger’s Nest! Keep up the good work on my behalf Shelley!

    PS – Our children met each other in the PG&E coffee room the other day. Fun!

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  2. I hope we can follo your tracks next summer. Bhutan/Nepal next on my bucket list. I just returned from N India, not with OAT unfortunately. Long story. I have been sick since return 10 days ago. But, that can happen to anyone, anywhere. Stay healthy and soak it all in and keep posting.

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  3. Shelley- what an experience ! Love coming with you on your journey via your posts.
    Keep on trekking ! Hugs Edie

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      • We had tea at the cafeteria, but we didn’t have lunch there. TAshi didn’t think the food was very good, so instead, he arranged for a fantastic picnic when we returned to our starting point.
        Karma is a newer guide; Tashi is more experienced so he was comfortable varying the itinerary a bit and doing some unusual things.
        Our Nepali guide’s wife is very sick, so he had to fly to Adelphi with her to get medical care. A new guide has replaced him.

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  4. Wasn’t that a great hike? We ate lunch on the way back at the cafe…I attribute that stop to my illness the next day!

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