What to see in Bhutan
Taktshang Goemba is the most famous monastery in Bhutan and one of the most venerated temples to which pilgrims from all parts of the country come. Hanging from a steep cliff among pine forests at 3240 m altitude, the famous Tiger's Nest is a beautiful monastery that was built in the seventeenth century, but the insufficient monitoring of the candles lit in the wooden rooms caused a devastating fire, although it was rebuilt in 1998.According to legend, in the 8th century the guru Rinpoche flew here on the back of a tigress to subdue a demon that frightened the local population and remained meditating in a cave there for three years, three months, three days and three hours and converted the whole Paro Valley to Buddhism.From below, before starting the hike, you can hardly see the tiny building on the mountain. The steep climb to the Tiger’s Nest takes about two and a half hours to climb. You have to start walking at a slow pace to acclimatize your lungs to work at altitude and not get too tired. People who have difficulties can ascend on horseback to a half-way point, but the final leg can only be done on foot. The paths of stone and sand are crossed by the forests that open up to let us see the progress on the road, how the valley is moving away and how the temple is approaching.Halfway there is a restaurant where everyone stops to regain strength. Eating at one of its outdoor tables provides walkers one of the best experiences of the trip to the Tiger's Nest because it allows you to contemplate and admire slowly among the red flowers of the rhododendrons, how the monastery defies gravity offering one of the most captivating panoramas of this incredible architectural work.The last view of the Tiger's Nest before descending the stairs to access the wooden bridge that crosses the river is indescribable. Face to face with the building, it moves visitors to consider the amount of effort involved in building such a structure on such an unusual and impossible place. When crossing the bridge, the sound of the water falling down the cascaded cliff celebrates that it is only up a few steps to reach the goal and access the monastery.Of the 13 temples that make up the monastery, the most important is located in the cave in which the master meditated, but only opens to the faithful once a year. Personal effects must be left at the entrance to a security locker, including mobiles, cameras, and video. Its interior is as beautiful as that of the other monasteries in the country but the feeling of having managed to get there makes you appreciate it even more. From above there are beautiful views of the Paro Valley.The ascent to the emblematic monastery is a unique journey in the company of the mountains, the forests, and the sky, the dust of the road, the fluttering of the prayer flags and the rattle of the prayer wheels. Traveling to the Tiger's Nest is an overwhelming and unforgettable experience that should be done at least once in a lifetime.