Trek to the Hanging Temple of Tiger’s Nest in Bhutan

The kingdom in the clouds is one of the most spectacular and humbling sights you could wish to see. For years the photographs have been unfolding in the pages of the National Geographic and gracing every travel blog, images of the golden topped Buddhist monastery clinging precariously to the cliff with death defying drops to the valley below – the Hanging Temple of Tiger’s Nest in Bhutan.

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Image Courtesy: flickr.com/NagarjunKandukuru

Legend has it that Guru Rinpoche flew down to this spot on a tigers back to calm a demon who was busy terrorizing the local people. After taming the beast he then slipped away into the caves to meditate for three years, three months and three days.

Whilst weary travelers will find no tiger stripes waiting to whisk them up the mountain the hike to the top is well worth every step. The dizzying peak sits 10,000ft above sea level and with no roads to ramble; your only hope is horseback and putting one foot in front of the other. You can take your horse to the meadows below where wildflowers break under the weight of the blue sky, the final spot before the steep flight begins.

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Image Courtesy: flickr.com/NagarjunKandukuru

The deep pine forests around permeate the air with a spring time sweetness to power you on, the colorful prayer flags strung up send a surge through your bones and for those taking it easy, the tiny canteen at the half way mark invites you to sit, rest and sip something cool and refreshing. This is your first glance at the startling final destination and many choose to stop here, satiated by the clean thin air, the rugged landscape surrounding them and the impeccable view to the top.

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Image Courtesy: flickr.com/NagarjunKandukuru

Yet carrying on and you will find the sky shifts color, the light changes and you may even pass monks with their bowed heads and red robes passing you on the steps. Waterfalls tumble down the steep ravine and incense fills the air, reaching the peak of the world’s highest monastery is a moment of spiritual respite and a feel of sheer wonder at the world we live in.

Top Image Courtesy: commons.wikimedia.org/VikramjitKakati

Jodie Oakes

Jodie Oakes

Jodie Oakes is a seasoned writer and an avid surfer with continuously itchy feet and a love of the finer things in life. After traveling through the continent with a touring band, living in Paris, Amsterdam and under the Auroras Borealis, she is now in Bulgaria where she attempts to piece together her first poetry collection.
Jodie Oakes