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Located in the Upper Paro Valley is the Taktshang Goemba, or the Tiger’s Nest Monastery. The most famous monastery in Bhutan that is perched on the side of a cliff 900 m above the floor of Paro Valley. Tiger’s Nest (elev 3200 m) was built in 1692 and considered a very holy place by locals and Buddhists. Many travellers into Bhutan consider this as the highlight of their journey to this Kingdom.

This is my last hike in Bhutan that will take a total of 6 hours. The only way up is to walk or ride a horse. It took me 3 hours of hiking to reach the monastery – two hours to the look-out point and close to another hour to navigate the steep stairs (600+ steps). It took almost the same time to get back down. It was a little busy when I did the hike as several locals were doing their pilgrimages as it coincided with the tenth day of the month (in lunar calendar) which is considered an auspicious date.

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Start of the hike. The monastery can be seen in the middle of the mountain.

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One of the Chortens along the path

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For $12 you can ride a horse, but only up to the lookout point and not for the return. Nah – not for me.

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A third of the way…

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View of the monastery from a third of the way

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One of the meditation areas for the monks

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Some areas along the path were snow-covered making it slippery and eventually, muddy

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View from lookout point – so close yet so far

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From the lookout point, 600+ steep stair steps to go…

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Part of stairs covered with ice and snow. Railings were just installed three years ago.

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Picnic lunch of samosas and curry on the hike back.

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