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Here’s What You Need to Know about the Tiger’s Nest Monastery, Bhutan

8 mins. read

Lying along the lofty ridges of the eastern Himalayas, Bhutan is known for breathtaking natural landscapes, magnificent monasteries, ancient temples, and a lot more. With an approximate area of 46,500 square kilometres, this country is bordered by China on the north and the Indian states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, West Bengal, and Sikkim on the east, south, and west sides, respectively. Despite its small geographical area, Bhutan is the perfect example of diversity in every aspect, be it cultural, topographical, or something else.

If you’re planning a trip to this beautiful country, you will have plenty of options for where to spend your vacation. No matter what your interests are, there are several exciting things to do in Bhutan. Visiting the world-famous Tiger’s Nest Monastery is one of them.

Tiger’s Nest Monastery

Also known as Taktsang Palphug, the Tiger’s Nest Monastery is a sacred Buddhist site in Bhutan. This monastery was constructed in 1692 around the cave where Guru Padmasmbhava (also known as Guru Rinpoche) meditated for the very first time. His meditation lasted for three months, and it was also the event that introduced Buddhism to Bhutan. There is a popular belief that he arrived at this place on the back of a flying tiger. This is the reason why this monastery got the name “Tiger’s Nest.”

The current structure of the monastery consists of four different temples with residential accommodations for the monks. All these buildings are interconnected by staircases with steps that have been carved into the rock. In the courtyard, you can find a large prayer wheel, which is rotated every day at 4 a.m. by the monks who live here. This daily ritual is performed to mark the beginning of a new day.

In today’s time, the Tiger’s Nest monastery is one of the most revered pilgrimage destinations for Buddhist people. Like any other Buddhist site in the country, this monastery also experiences a huge visitor influx on a daily basis. If you want to experience the Bhutanese culture and know more about Buddhism, this monastery is a must-visit place for you.

Best Time to Visit

Ideally, the best time to plan a trip to Bhutan is from October to December. During these months, the weather remains pleasant with clear skies. Although it can get quite cold at night, you will get plenty of sunshine during the day. Or, you can also visit this beautiful country in the spring season (February to April). This is the time when you can enjoy sightseeing and other outdoor activities here.

How to Reach

Situated on the edge of a cliff with an elevation of 3,120 m above sea level, the Tiger’s Nest Monastery is definitely not an easy place to reach. However, the view you get after reaching there makes it worth the effort. Although the paths are well maintained, vehicles cannot make the drive up to the monastery. Due to its location, the only way to get to the monastery is by hiking. However, for those who aren’t physically fit for the Tiger's Nest monastery hike, horses can be hired.

Here are a few stats that you should know before starting a hike to the Tiger’s Nest Monastery:

  • Total Distance: 6.4 km (4 miles) round trip
  • Total Ascent: 520 metres (1,700 feet)
  • Highest Elevation: 3,120 metres (10,232 feet)
  • Time: 5 to 7 hours for the entire visit

This monastery is located approximately 15 kilometres from Paro, which serves as the perfect home base for the tiger’s nest monastery trek. You will need one full day to visit this place. The hike itself requires between four and five hours (round trip), and at least an hour is needed to explore the monastery.

best time to plan a trip to Bhutan

Entry Fee

Like several other tourist attractions, you will have to pay entry fees in order to visit the Tiger’s Nest monastery as well. Currently, the entrance fee is 2000 BTN for all non-Bhutanese visitors. Children who are below the age of 5 years will be exempted from this, and those between 5 and 18 years will be granted a 50% concession.

Opening Hours

The Tiger’s Nest Monastery and its temples are open on all days from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. This time is for visiting the monastery only. You can explore other nearby places or hike outside of these times as well.

Entry Restrictions

There are six different occasions on which the monastery cannot be visited by international tourists. On these special dates, according to the Bhutanese lunar calendar, only Bhutanese people are allowed to visit the monastery. These dates are:

  • 5th of the 1st month (Chotrul Duchen)
  • 10th day of the 3rd month (Zhabdrung Kuchoe)
  • 15th day of the 4th month (Lord Buddha Parinirvana, Vesak Day)
  • 4th day of the 6th month (first sermon of Lord Buddha)
  • 22nd day of the 9th month (Descending day of Lord Buddha)
  • 10th day of the 5th month (Birth anniversary of Guru Rinpoche)

Things to Do

Once you reach the Tiger’s Nest Monastery, your guide will give you a detailed tour of all the temples located within the complex. He/she will share some fascinating historical facts about the monastery as well as Buddhism. There are several levels within the monastery, and these temples are on different levels. As you go on the higher levels, you will eventually see the famous cave where Guru Padmasambhava is believed to have meditated. Once the tour ends, you will use the same path to come back to the point from where you started to hike.

Tips You Should Know Before Visiting

  • Things like backpacks, shoes, etc. are not allowed in the monastery. You need to leave them with the security staff at the main entrance.
  • Within the monastery, photography is not allowed. So you cannot carry cameras or any other photography equipment with you.
  • Like most other religious sites, this monastery also follows a strict dress code. Both men and women are advised to wear appropriate clothes.
  • Since you will need at least 5–6 hours to cover the total distance of the Tiger’s Nest monastery trek, it is best to carry some snacks and water with you.
  • You should wear comfortable clothes with sports shoes that have a good grip. Other than this, you can also keep a hiking stick with you for additional support.
  • People with mobility issues or respiratory problems should not consider hiking to get here.

Now that you know enough about the Tiger’s Nest Monastery, you can easily visit this place on your trip to Bhutan. To ensure that you don’t miss any other major tourist attractions, you can also choose any of the Bhutan packages offered by Veena World. Or, if you are planning a Bhutan honeymoon, you can choose from our tour packages specially designed for couples.

March 22, 2024

Author

Veena World
Veena World

We are an Indian travel company founded in 2013 and excel at domestic and international tour packages including guided group tours, specialty tours, customized holidays, corporate MICE travel, inbound travel and destination weddings.

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