Tiger’s Nest Monastery


A Himalayan-Buddhist legend tells the tale of the guru Padmasambhava. After flying on a tiger to the cliffs of Paro Valley (today in Bhutan) he meditated until transforming into eight incarnated forms. The cliffs became a holy place and his reincarnated form built a temple in 1692; hanging from the cliffs themselves.

While this tale is enchanting, what is truly enchanting is the actual temple from the tale: The Tiger’s Nest monastery.

Indeed, the temple hanging from the cliffs is an actual place of worship to this day. It can even be visited through a long journey on foot, passing through three landmarks before reaching the temple. First, is the Lakhang, a monastery for the villagers. And then a second temple, “Urgyan Tsemo,” is passed. This one, like the Tiger’s Nest, is built on a precipice and is across a canyon from the Tiger’s Nest. Finally, visitors pass the two-hundred foot waterfall, forded by a bridge, which fills a sacred pool.

Here the monastery is reached. Only the front areas of the temple are open to visitors most of the year, but the cave in which Padmasambhava meditated is opened annually for a single day.

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