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. Its 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 the 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’ – the 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. The tourism industry is one of the biggest sources 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 have also been cases where tourist guides have embarked 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 reconstructing 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 had 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

Bhutan Removes Mandatory Travel Insurance for Tourists

Bhutan's Department of Tourism has announced the elimination of the compulsory travel insurance obligation for tourists.

Apr 26, 2024 10:03

Alii Palau Airlines Inaugural Flight From Singapore to Palau via...

On November 23, 2023, Alii Palau Airlines made history with its inaugural flight to Palau.

Dec 04, 2023 10:32

Singapore to Palau: Alii Palau Airlines Launches Historic Route...

You can now visit the Palau Paradise directly from Singapore!

Oct 27, 2023 16:17

Bhutan's aviation pioneer: The story of Jamair and the early days...

In 1952, Bhutan initially proposed the establishment of a fully equipped aerodrome in Punakha and the acquisition of a...

Sep 13, 2023 11:15

A tale of two airports in Bhutan

As the slow pace towards a pre-pandemic world begins, two of the country’s domestic airports are going through their own...

Nov 03, 2022 16:30

Latest

News

Singaporean couple donates 400-year-old Buddha statue to Bhutan in late son's name

On May 9th, a 400-year-old Buddha statue embarked on its voyage from Singapore to the Kingdom of Bhutan, catching a 9 a.m. flight.

May 13, 2024 13:31

Bhutan Hosted Summit Targeting $1 billion USD for Tiger Landscapes Conservation

On Apr 22 - Apr 23, in conjunction with Earth Day 2024, Bhutan's Royal Government hosted the Sustainable Finance for Tiger Landscapes...

Apr 24, 2024 10:34

Features

Rifles and Rituals: Satire and Societal Shifts in Bhutan as Portrayed in 'The Monk and The Gun

Pawo Choyning Dorji, whose film "The Monk and the Gun" offers insight into the Himalayan nation's modernization process.

Feb 20, 2024 11:04

All You Need to Know About Gelephu Mindfulness City

The kingdom of Bhutan is planning to develop a "mindfulness city" covering about 2.5% of its land, which is larger than the size of...

Feb 08, 2024 10:42

Business

Brand Bhutan: Karma Yangchen

Karma Yangchen, a distinguished artisan from Bhutan exemplifies a profound commitment to the art of handwoven textiles.

Dec 14, 2023 10:22

Brand Bhutan: Bhutan Herbal Tea

Bhutan Herbal Tea is the brainchild of two Bhutanese individuals who first crossed paths in New York during a Bhutanese New Year gathering...

Nov 25, 2023 13:56

Sports

Bhutan Cricket's New Milestone: The Inaugural Indoor Cricket Academy

The Bhutan Cricket Council Board (BCCB) inaugurated its inaugural indoor cricket academy on 20th December, with the objective of ensuring...

Dec 21, 2023 14:57

Paro FC Clinches Third Consecutive Victory in BOB Bhutan Premier League

Paro FC has once again claimed the BOB Bhutan Premier League championship, marking their third consecutive title victory during the season's...

Dec 12, 2023 10:26

Travel

Bhutan Removes Mandatory Travel Insurance for Tourists

Bhutan's Department of Tourism has announced the elimination of the compulsory travel insurance obligation for tourists.

Apr 26, 2024 10:03

Alii Palau Airlines Inaugural Flight From Singapore to Palau via Drukair

On November 23, 2023, Alii Palau Airlines made history with its inaugural flight to Palau.

Dec 04, 2023 10:32

Lifestyle

Chunipa Losar: Bhutan's Timeless Celebration of Traditions and Offerings

Chunipa Losar is a day of offerings, a moment when communities come together to express gratitude, seek blessings, and strengthen bonds.

Jan 12, 2024 12:31

Bhutan's Time-Honored Tradition: Exploring the Nyilo Season and the Lolay Ritual

Approximately 750 children recently took part in the traditional practice known as "lolay" in Bhutan, marking the beginning of the Nyilo...

Jan 04, 2024 14:18

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!

Download Daily Bhutan Mobile App

Connecting with us just got easier!