Locally known as Taktshang, the “Tiger’s Nest” is one of the most visited hotspot tourist attractions in Bhutan. Precariously clinging at 3120 meters above the sea level on a vertical mountain cliff, Taktshang Monastery is a superb and outstanding sight for foreigners visiting.
The Tiger’s Nest Monastery hangs on a cliff and stands above an enchanting forest of blue pines and rhododendrons. As this beautiful and very exceptional monastery is a sheer climb the hill (900 meters), a pony can be arranged for the ride up, but only until the cafeteria. From then on, it is another steep walk and some narrow stairs towards the monastery itself. The trail crosses a chapel of butter lamps and descends to a waterfall by the Snow Lion Cave. The view of the Paro valley from here on is breathtaking, and the atmosphere very holy, a place where every Bhutanese will want to come at least once in his/her life. The place where Guru Rinpoche brought Buddhism into Bhutan, arriving on the back of a tigress.
The temple is in the sacred rock, which was believed to have been blessed by Guru Rinpoche in the 8th century. 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. Visiting Tiger’s Nest temple will be rewarded with a breathtaking view and ones in a lifetime memory.
Taktshang and several temples in the area were burnt down in 1951 by fire accident but much of them remained intact and most of the relics were saved. Soon after, the, Taktshang was rebuilt by population of Tsento village. Again in April of 1998, a major fire destroyed the main structure of the building and its contents (some believe it to be arson). Reconstruction began in 2000 and was completed and consecrated after extensive efforts and financial support of Governments as well as donors.
According to the legend, the cave was named Taktshang, after Guru Rinpoche is said to flown here from Kurtoe Singye Dzong in eastern Bhutan on the back of a tigress. Guru Rinpoche then manifested into a wrathful form known as Guru Dorji Drolo to subdue the demons. The monastery is one of the main among thirteen Taktshangs, predicted to be built in the Buddhist world. The cliff on which Taktshang stands is also supposed to resemble a ritual dagger known as Phurpa. Next to Taktshang is a waterfall known as Shelkar Zar. This is believed to be the Drupchu (holy water) of one hundred thousand dakinis. Beside the water fall is the main seat of Guru Rinpoche on a rock where he preached to his consort Khando Yeshey Tshogyal. As a blessing, he gave his crystal rosaries to Khando Yeshey Tshogyal and thereafter the area came to be known as Shelkar Zar. On the left side of Shelkar Zar is a small meditation cave in which Khando Yeshey Tshogyal and Guru Rinpoche meditated. The stone seems to resembles a lion’s face and therefore the cave is known as Sengye Phug.