The trail to Paro Taktsang (Tiger's Nest) Monastery gets a new makeover

Email

The Taktsang monastery was built around the holy caves in Paro by Gyalse Tenzin Rabgye. He founded the monastery by putting it's first stone during his visit to the holy caves in 1692.

Paro Taktsang Monastery, popularly known as Tiger's Nest monastery is an iconic and sacred site in Bhutan. It is a must-visit destination for tourists who step foot into the Kingdom. Locals will perform pilgrimage to pay homage to Guru Padmasambhava aka Guru Rinpoche at the monastery perched on the cliff.
 
However, in 1998, the Paro Taktsang was almost completely burned down. It's original form was restored in 2005. Although the monastery was burnt down by the fire, the iconic temple still resembled the same as the old structure.
The one thing that to continues to evolve to this day is the trail to the monastery.

The Old Taktsang Trail

If we were to ask our forefathers and grandparents how the trail towards Paro Taktsang looked like in olden days, they will most likely say it was dreadful. Since the monastery is perched on the cliff, the trail leading towards the monastery was narrow and rocky, not to mention, dangerous. “Some pilgrims who feared height would never make it to the Taksang ‘Nyego’ – door of the pilgrimage site”, said the elderly. And in superstitious beliefs, people who fear to complete the pilgrimage are considered sinful.

There is also the dark history of cases where horses and people fell off the narrow trails while hiking to the monastery in the past.

But gone are the days where parents feared or hesitated to carry their child on their back to the monastery. Since 2010, there has been a rise in the number of pilgrims of all ages hiking to Taktsang Monastery. You can find hikers from as young as 2 years old to above 80 years old.

From the entrance of the sacred site, hundreds of steps were built with concrete and pole fences for the convenience of pilgrims and tourists.

Tourism in Bhutan

The borders of Bhutan has remained closed since the first imported Covid-19 positive case was detected in March. Tourism industry is one of the biggest source of income for this tiny Himalayan Kingdom. It is no surprise that the country was hard-hit during the global pandemic situation. And people involved in the tourism industry bear the most brunt of it.

However, during this lull period, there has also been cases where tourist guides have embark on new journeys to spend their time meaningfully. Some have traded their guide uniforms to become farmers, some volunteered as a Guardian of Peace as a frontline to safeguard the country and some took the time to revive and develop existing prominent landmarks such as the Taktsang's trail.


New trail leading to the Tiger's Nest Monastery 

The group of guides spent weeks to reconstruct the new trail. With the improvement of the trail, hiking time has now shortened compared to the previous trail. There are shorter pathways for one to reach the monastery quicker. And there are now two separate pathways for the ponies and humans. Previously, hikers share the same pathway as the ponies and often having to make way for each other.

The steps have also been developed using wooden logs to prevent hikers from slipping. Aside from that, benches, resting places, and canopies have been built along the trail.


New Gazebo at Taktsang Trail  


The Taktsang Cafeteria is also currently under full renovation
Despite numerous stray dogs, empty handicraft stalls at the base of Ramthangka base camp, and happy carefree horses and ponies, the locals are hoping that tourism reopens soon to restart the economy. With the improved infrastructure, we look forward to welcoming tourists back to the Kingdom!

In the future, if a tourist ever revisits Taktsang Monastery, one will definitely feel the difference. But then again, no hike to Taktsang Monastery ever feels the same. Whether it is your first visit or the tenth visit, each experience is a unique personal spiritual endeavour.



Related Posts

Tomorrow is the Most Auspicious Day of the Year at Paro Taksang.

Even before the gilded door to this holy site is open, pilgrims from all walks of life from all over the country flock...

Jul 19, 2020 20:53

Ride Up Bhutan’s Legendary Tiger’s Nest Monastery And Enjoy The...

Pony services to the Tiger’s Nest Monastery is expected to be more organised come next month.

Jul 17, 2019 21:28

Bhutan is the perfect destination for luxury travel

The definition of 'luxury travel' has changed because of COVID-19.

Jun 01, 2021 18:32

8 most popular festivals in Bhutan that you should check out

Bhutanese festivals are colourfully vibrant affairs that draw crowds from all over the world.

May 14, 2021 17:15

Bhutan's national parks and wildlife sanctuaries

Bhutan is a green country with a rich environment, magnificent mountains, beautiful landscapes, and rich wildlife and...

May 05, 2021 12:16

Bhutan champions Waddling Tour, an activity that's completely new...

Bhutan is in the midst of developing new tourism products. The country is gearing up to make the tourism industry in the...

Mar 29, 2021 10:06

Latest

News

The sacrifice of an extraordinary King in these difficult times

“The most powerful leadership tool you have is your own personal example.” – John Wooden

Jun 14, 2021 16:57

Bhutan is hopeful of lifting restrictions on tourism after second dose of COVID-19 vaccination

It’s been 9-week since the nationwide COVID-19 vaccination campaign in Bhutan.

Jun 04, 2021 13:20

Features

RENEW's Livelihood Project: Lighting up the lives of women

Her Majesty the Queen Mother Sangay Choden Wangchuck founded RENEW (Respect, Educate, Nurture and Empower Women) in 2004.

Jun 17, 2021 11:32

6 reasons to get your very own 'Bhutan: Travelog'

A book that will tell you everything you need to know, see, taste, do, and enjoy in Bhutan? Take my money!

Jun 16, 2021 12:37

Business

Support authentic Bhutanese handicrafts by local artisans

Whether you are interested in artisanal Bhutanese handicrafts or boutique sourced products with contemporary touch, the incredible...

Mar 25, 2021 12:09

Authentic Bhutanese Souvenirs from Eastern Bhutan

Every district and village produce distinct products in Bhutan. To encourage rural communities to produce more authentic souvenirs and...

Dec 25, 2020 22:13

Sports

What's with the unique archery culture in Bhutan?

In Bhutan, archery is more than just a sport. It is a way of life. The dancing, the singing, the drinking—it is a manifestation of the...

Apr 19, 2021 10:40

Contributing to the country through the love for football

It's been a month since the conclusion of Bhutan Premier League 2020. Daily Bhutan interviews Paro FC to find out more about the club. Below...

Dec 21, 2020 17:05

Travel

Bhutan is the perfect destination for luxury travel

The definition of 'luxury travel' has changed because of COVID-19.

Jun 01, 2021 18:32

8 most popular festivals in Bhutan that you should check out

Bhutanese festivals are colourfully vibrant affairs that draw crowds from all over the world.

May 14, 2021 17:15

Lifestyle

What are some of the Bhutanese beliefs and superstitions

For a country deeply rooted in spirituality, you will find Bhutanese especially the Buddhist rely on astrology for major events in life....

May 25, 2021 11:17

Khata: The multipurpose Bhutanese scarf

“Khatas are the Buddhist equivalent of a hallmark card.” —Married to Bhutan by Linda Leaming

Apr 29, 2021 10:53

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!

Download Daily Bhutan Mobile App

Connecting with us just got easier!