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

Trace the footsteps of the Divine Madman on this hiking trail

There is no better way to connect spiritually with Drukpa Kuenley, the “Divine Madman”. The trail will take you downhill...

Apr 28, 2022 22:30

Been to Bhutan before? Stand a chance to win FREE flight tickets...

If you’ve been to Bhutan before, we want to hear your story.

Apr 15, 2022 19:49

Bhutanese can now enter Singapore quarantine-free from Apr 1

Looking forward to taking a break from Bhutan? Here's some good news for you.

Mar 24, 2022 15:49

Bhutan is reopening a sacred ancient route for tourism after 60...

Following 2 years of extensive restoration, Bhutan is set to open its sacred Trans Bhutan Trail to travellers and...

Jan 26, 2022 14:50

Bhutan banned mountaineering out of respect for the local...

While there are many stunning peaks in Bhutan, mountaineering is prohibited in Bhutan.

Nov 29, 2021 11:51

Latest

News

Colours Beyond the Wall Volume II: Reformation through Art

‘Do you see the eyes?’ ‘Look closely and you would see the eyes with tears streaming down. And this is the nose,’ Kinga (name changed) said...

Apr 26, 2022 22:01

Travel to Bhutan: go off the beaten path in eastern Bhutan

You will find settlements on high grounds and isolated valleys. You will see rolling hills, deep gorges, and green pastures.

Mar 28, 2022 15:44

Features

What went on at Miss Bhutan 2022 preliminary competition

The 3rd edition of Miss Bhutan is underway and the Preliminary Round was held and broadcast live on BBS Channel 2 on 15th May 2022 from...

May 19, 2022 21:11

Check out Drunken Yeti Bar for the best cocktails in Thimphu

Named after a mythical Himalayan creature and perched on top of a distinct and unique 3-storied building in Thimphu, lies a unique bar that...

May 17, 2022 21:11

Business

The enormous role of hydropower in Bhutan

Bhutan uses hydropower to conserve the environment, produce electricity, and achieve economic self-reliance.

Jan 25, 2022 11:43

Online businesses are becoming more and more popular in Bhutan

Even though the Internet was developed in the 1960s, the tiny Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan was only introduced to it in June 1999.

Jan 20, 2022 12:41

Sports

Outstanding individuals, schools and clubs awarded for their contributions to grassroots football

On December 22, 2021, the Bhutan Football Federation (BFF), a bronze member of the AFC Grassroots Charter,presented awards to unsung heroes...

Jan 11, 2022 14:15

Bhutan's national women cricket team won ICC Women's T20 World Cup Asia Qualifier 2021 opening match

The United Arab Emirates is currently hosting the ICC Women's T20 World Cup Asia Qualifier. The two ICC Academy grounds in Dubai Sports City...

Nov 23, 2021 11:13

Travel

Trace the footsteps of the Divine Madman on this hiking trail

There is no better way to connect spiritually with Drukpa Kuenley, the “Divine Madman”. The trail will take you downhill for about four...

Apr 28, 2022 22:30

Been to Bhutan before? Stand a chance to win FREE flight tickets to back to Bhutan!

If you’ve been to Bhutan before, we want to hear your story.

Apr 15, 2022 19:49

Lifestyle

The hot springs of Bhutan are believed to have miraculous healing properties

The Bhutanese believe that hot springs are a blessing from the Buddha.

Apr 08, 2022 21:52

What are the five main fruits in a Bhutanese fruit bowl 'thokay'?

There are usually five fruits that make it to the 'thokay' (fruit bowl) placed on the altars or in front of the King, Chief Abbot and Lamas.

Mar 08, 2022 15:54

COVID-19

A detailed summary of Bhutan's COVID-19 management and plans moving forward

With offices and all businesses open, movement of vehicles allowed and critical services resumed from 21st March 2022, Bhutan braces for a...

Mar 22, 2022 11:23

Vaccinated tourists to undergo 5-day quarantine in Bhutan from April 25

What you need to know about entering Bhutan from April 25.

Mar 14, 2022 14:21

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!

Download Daily Bhutan Mobile App

Connecting with us just got easier!