Paro welcomed us with wide tar roads, neatly led footpath, river jingling along, trees stooping in to add color, people walking around and some of them were cycling, I was eager to get down of the car and take a stroll along the river on that most pleasant evening. But we had to proceed further into the town as the clouds were steadily gathering above us. We stopped at Paro town to shop and get
Contents - Read all the way though.
Takstang Monastery / Tiger Nest Monastery
The morning was as cold as the night. I walked up to the courtyard, yawned and my vision was clouded with breath from my mouth 😀 Unable to believe with what just happened, I looked up and there, perched on the cliff among thick pine forests was the tiger nest monastery.. The highlight of Bhutan trip and the arduous trek. Two months back,
Me: Santosh, Am not a trekker and am not fit. Am a little afraid of tiger nest monastery
Santosh (our tour operator): you can take a horse that will cover 80% of the way and after that, you can trek. Or try till how much you can and then walk down. Or wait down till we all go up and come down (that’s a good six hours).
Rewind by another two years, when I trekked Gangotri (how?? oh God, how on earth did I ever do that!!), the guide was kind enough to tell me how people fall down the horse into the gorge/cliff and die. So the horse was out of option! I started getting on the treadmill. Started taking stairs. Did squats to make my legs strong. And was limping around for a while! Then I read some blog which emphasized breathing exercise! So I was now into Suryanamaskara and Pranayama. I took a deep breath looking at the monastery and ardently wished for some miracle to happen and again got clouded with smoke. “There is a look of fear all over your face. Wipe it out and eat your breakfast, you need the energy to climb.” I got jerked from my thoughts and the toast was refusing to pass through the lump in my throat.
The white dot in the middle hill is the Tiger Nest monastery..
Tiger Nest Monastery was abuzz with tourist vehicles. There were avid trekkers all geared up with the right equipment. There were tourists who stood down, took photos, admired the view and moved on. Some took the horse and I ambitiously started my climb. Hushed, pushed, gasped, and now apart from the lump in my throat there was someone sitting on my chest! “Why don’t you take the horse? Trek has not even started!” told our guide and we walked back for the horse. The horse looked tiny in front of me and I refused to get on one. The group moved off and I wondered what to do. I again hushed, pushed, gasped and my heart was in my mouth! But I knew my fitness was not that bad. If anything that gives up first; it would be my legs, not my heart or will. Overwhelmed I sat on a rock to let my heart go back to its place. A monk passed by and said, “Don’t walk alone, you will lose balance!” Ok! An aunty came down, “
With the group having moved up, I knew they would not be back for another five hours. So I decided to set out sightseeing Paro by myself 😀 And that turned out to be one of the best experiences. I hired a taxi and went around the city
Places to visit in Paro
Paro National Museum
The Paro National Museum is actually a watchtower converted into a museum and it is under renovation now. Artifacts are moved to another nearby complex. This was my first stop. No photography allowed inside any museum. This is
Rinpung Paro Dzong
Drive down the watchtower comes the Rinpun Dzong. It is a big dzong and like others colorful too. The usual four friends, wheel of life, cosmic mandalas can be found on the walls. Pictures to speak the rest.
Entry to the monastery. Colors colors everywhere.
Paintings in the entry way.
Kyichu Lhakhang/ Monastery
This temple is one of the oldest in Bhutan. Apparently, there was an emperor called Gampo who built 108 temples in one day in and around the Tibetan region and this is one of it. Hence the very first Buddhist temple of Bhutan, even before the Guru Rinpoche times. There is a shrine for Gampo which is fully surrounded by many other idols. This is the oldest shrine. To both the sides you can see the thousand hand and thousand eye statues. Outside is another shrine for Guru Rinpoche. Huge statue! The guide (taxi driver) dutifully took me around the statue, made me bonk my head against Guru Rinpoche’s feet to get rid of my sins. This is not a touristy place so more peaceful.
This one is again non-touristy. In fact no one around! This dzong was completely gutted by fire and now it is just in ruins. The view is amazing from here, one side it is thick green vegetation and another side is snow-capped mountains. The horse breeders who take their horse to Tiger nest stay on this side hence a lot of them were freely galloping around. It is not a must
Drukgyal ruined fortress complex
View from one side of the dzong.. Pine forests and paddy fields
The other side view from the dzong, flanked by snow-capped mountains
The Tara temple was on the way to Drukgyal. It is a small, very small temple on the base of Drukgyal Monastery. I gingerly climbed up the steep wooden ladder only to discover that I will have to do it often in Bhutan. It was a white Tara temple. White Tara is the mother of compassion, much softer Tara and you can identify Her as the one with seven eyes. Two in Her palms and two in Her feet. The guide (taxi driver) again dutifully made me light butter lamp, the
Paro Airport View
This is a viewpoint from above the mountain. You can see the whole of the city and it is beautiful. The airstrip is actually small. The driver dramatically explained to us
Paro sightseeing requires one day. Tiger nest if you intend to complete that again requires one day. Once you are done with Tiger Nest your legs are not gonna move anywhere else. So plan it to do at the end of the trip.
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