Over a millennium ago, Guru Rinpoche, the father of the Bhutanese Mahayana sect of Buddhism came to Paro valley on the back of a grand tigress. For 3 months he meditated in a cave nestled deep within the mountain, and this is where the Taksang Lakhang or the Tiger’s Nest Monastery was built.

The monastery is perched spectacularly on the edge of a cliff and makes one wonder how in the world could anyone build something this grand at such a location.

The trek up to Tiger’s nest takes about 3 hours through thickly forested slopes, covered with dew in the mornings and is every bit worth the effort needed for the trek.

The trek offers some beautiful natural and some curious sights. On route, we saw these little Stupas all over. On asking our guide, we found out that these mini stupas are made in memory people who have passed away. After cremating the body, a little bit of ash is collected, mixed with mud and clay and molded into a stupa. Once made, these stupas are placed away from direct sunlight and rain for protection.

Mini stupa - in memory of a person who has passed away

Mini stupa – in memory of a person who has passed away

Mini stupa - close up

Mini stupa – close up

All over the mountain, you see the green and brown landscape dotted with monks in bright red robes…

Adding a splash of color

Adding a splash of color

Amongst the beauty of nature is the genius of mankind… there are meditation rooms built on rock faces…

Meditation room built into the rocks

Meditation room built into the rocks

While soaking in the sights of the mountain, I came up to the point from where you get the first clear glimpse of Taksang Lakhang. At this point, it almost felt like I could reach out and grasp the beautiful Tiger’s nest in my hands…

Tigers nest (Taksang Lakhang)

Tigers nest (Taksang Lakhang)

By now, there was a feeling of peace and calm all around. I didn’t want to move and inch and just wanted to keep myself at one place looking into the valley and at the peaceful Tiger’s Nest.

Eventually, I decided to move my rear and catch up with the rest of the gang and visit the Monastery. There are temples of various re-incarnations of Guru Rinpoche in the monastery, and the atmosphere in the temple calms even the most turbulent souls.

After the visit, when I came back to the view point, I decided I wanted to spend the day on this mountain and not head back to town with the rest of the group. The idea was to click pictures of the Taksang Lakhang all day long in different light conditions.

Taksang Lakhang - Tiger's Nest

Taksang Lakhang – Tiger’s Nest

 

Taksang Lakhang - Tigers Nest - within reaching out distance

Taksang Lakhang – Tigers Nest – within reaching out distance

The Monastery is west facing and I wanted to wait for afternoon to get the right light on the Monastery. Alas, by lunch time the weather gods decided to change sides and out came the cloud armies from behind the mountains. By this time, the bright sunny day had become overcast and windy. After waiting for a while in the hope that it will change again, I decided to hike back.
Shortly after I started the hike, the rain gods took over and as they say… the rest is history. All my hopes for clicking pictures of the Monastery (in the right light) were washed away.
By the time I reached the parking lot, it was raining quite heavily. Even so, hiking through thickly forested slopes in a downpour has its own charm. The joys of childhood, of jumping in puddles, splish sploshing in the water, getting wet in the rain all came right back and added to the charm of the experience : )

Just waiting to go back and re-live the trek…

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