Starting just north of Paro and leaving the valley floor, the trail to Taktsang contours around the hills below the temples of Taktsang. The buildings were constructed to commemorate the meditation of Padmasambhava and his consort Tsogyal Yeshe. They both stayed at this place, and according to legend subdued demons in the Paro Valley, brining Buddhism to the western part of Bhutan in the 8th century.
The hike is meant as a kind of pilgrimage to remove sins or bad deeds. WE can certainly vouch for the struggles associated with the climb. The trail is straight up the side of the surrounding hills, and there is very little respite from the climb.
However, about half way into the journey, the trail reveals a tea house perched on the side of a cliff. As has been a part of our trip each day, we stopped for tea and biscuits, sat down at the tables and looked toward the temple.
After the tea house the trail turns up again, steeply climbing until you are actually above the temple….lest you think things get easier, they don’t. A hundreds of steps lead around the opposite cliff side and descends down about 200 feet before climbing again on the other side of a waterfall toward the temple itself.
I think the biggest hurdle here are the various widths and heights of the steps….some small some large, some ridiculously high…at times it’s a real struggle to reach the next step.
Once at the temple, a series of shrine rooms await with various deities and statues inside….the main temple houses an ancient statue of Padmasambhava that, according to legend, remained even after fires destroyed the temple around it (the last one in 1998).
Our trip down was a bit shorter and a catered meal awaited us at the base among the trees. From there we went to soak in a traditional stone bath and finally our last dinner in Bhutan.
We leave for Bangkok and then home. All are eager to see family and friends!