All You Need To Know About The Tiger's Nest Trek In Bhutan

The crown jewel of Bhutan, the Paro Taktsang Monastery, is an uphill climb steeped in history and spirituality

The Tiger's Nest Photo: Shutterstock

The Tiger's Nest monastery, nestled precariously between two cliffs, looks as ethereal as its placement seems formidable. The monastery is built in the traditional Bhutanese architecture style with solid white walls and square slanted roofs. More than anything else, it has become a cultural and aesthetic symbol for the country and a place that unites travellers from across the globe.

The Trek

The base camp of the trek is usually lined with vendors and food stalls, with an area occupied by mules. The 3000-metre climb to the Taktsang monastery, more popularly known as the Tiger's Nest, starts steady, gradually increasing the incline. You start at the bottom when the monastery still looks like a mirage. The impossible architecture of the monastery cupped in between sharp cliff faces seems like something out of a fantasy book. The climb uphill starts a bit rough, with a lot of huffing and mini-breaks for at least the first few minutes, and then it goes smoother. The terrain is pebbly, but the broad, uneven steps make climbing easier. Throughout the way, sunlight filters in through the gaps in the trees as my eyes catch the colours of the swaying prayer flags–red, yellow, green, white, and blue–all fluttering like kites in the crisp breeze. Some people are being carried on mules until the mid-way mark, where there is a cafeteria. The climb after that gets less strenuous, but many people halt their hike at this point. We stopped for around 15 minutes to catch our breath at the cafe and then resumed our journey.

The Duration