Tiger’s Nest Monastery (Paro Taktsang)


Taktsang Monastery, commonly known as the Tiger’s Nest, is one of Bhutan’s most iconic and revered religious sites. Perched on a cliffside 3,120 meters (10,240 feet) above sea level, it offers breathtaking views of the Paro Valley below. This sacred monastery is a significant pilgrimage site for Buddhists and a must-visit for tourists.

Historical Background

  • Legend: According to legend, Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) flew to this location on the back of a tigress to subdue a local demon and meditated in a cave for three months. This event gave the monastery its name, “Tiger’s Nest.”
  • Foundation: The monastery was built in 1692 around the cave where Guru Rinpoche meditated. It is considered one of the most important sites of pilgrimage for Buddhists.

Architectural Features

  • Structure: The complex consists of four main temples and several smaller ones, all interconnected by stairways and bridges. The buildings are constructed with a traditional Bhutanese architectural style, featuring wooden beams and whitewashed walls.
  • Caves: The monastery includes eight caves, four of which are relatively easy to access. The cave where Guru Rinpoche meditated is among these.
  • Interior: The interiors are adorned with beautiful murals, statues of Buddha, and various deities. The sacred relics housed in the monastery attract numerous devotees.


  • Spiritual Importance: Taktsang Monastery is a site of immense spiritual importance. It is believed to be a place where one can gain enlightenment and merit through meditation and prayer.
  • Pilgrimage Site: It is a major pilgrimage destination for Bhutanese Buddhists and attracts visitors from around the world seeking spiritual solace and stunning vistas.

Visiting Taktsang Monastery

  • Hike: The hike to Taktsang Monastery is a challenging yet rewarding experience. It typically takes about 2-3 hours to reach the monastery, depending on one’s fitness level. The trail is well-maintained but steep, passing through pine forests and offering spectacular views.
  • Tea House: Halfway up the trail, there is a small tea house where hikers can rest and enjoy refreshments while taking in panoramic views of the monastery.
  • Entry Requirements: Visitors must obtain a special permit to enter the monastery. Photography is not allowed inside the monastery to preserve its sanctity.

Interesting Facts

  • Reconstruction: Taktsang Monastery has been reconstructed several times due to damage from fires. The most recent reconstruction was completed in 2005 after a fire in 1998.
  • Altitude: The monastery is located at an elevation of approximately 3,120 meters (10,240 feet), making the hike physically demanding but also incredibly rewarding.
  • Cultural Events: The monastery hosts several important religious ceremonies and festivals throughout the year, attracting both locals and tourists.

Tips for Visitors

  • Acclimatization: Due to the high altitude, it’s recommended to spend a day or two in Paro to acclimatize before attempting the hike.
  • Proper Attire: Dress modestly when visiting the monastery. Long sleeves and trousers are appropriate, and comfortable hiking shoes are essential.
  • Early Start: Start the hike early in the morning to avoid the midday heat and crowds.
  • Stay Hydrated: Carry sufficient water and snacks for the hike, as there are limited facilities along the trail.

Taktsang Monastery, with its stunning location, rich history, and spiritual significance, offers a truly unique and unforgettable experience for visitors to Bhutan.