Our stay at Golden Roots Resort was lavishing. Heaters were properly built and we were quite comfortable with the room temperature. We got ready by 6:30 AM that morning. India is 30 mins behind of Bhutan. If it’s 6:30 AM in Bhutan, it is 6:00 AM in India. These pictures were from our balcony.
Next place is the most popular one in Bhutan. The moment you google about Bhutan, you see the below picture. It is Tiger’s Nest (Taktsang Monastery) which is located 2,950 meters (9,678 feet) above the sea level. It was freezing, it was coldest among all the days.
We reached the Entry point by 7:00 AM. Temperature was -4 C. We couldn’t feel our palms or feet. I was unaware of this climate and wore breathable shoe. It was crazy. My feet was frozen like Anna’s Heart (Disney Frozen). Walking was strenuous. I was very uncomfortable with my clothing too. Not knowing about the difficulty level of the trek, I wore a long flared skirt. Thermals were not helping in such low temperature. While waiting to buy Tickets to the Monastery, I saw few people who were starting their businesses. There was this mid age couple selling Necklaces and show pieces. They were wearing thick clothes and covered their head with woolen caps. They started arranging the items on the floor from their bags for sale very nice and neat. We were in no mood of shopping at that time. We thought of shopping while returning from the trek. As soon as we bought the tickets, we started moving. First 20 mins were torture to me. Holding my skirt with one hand and stick in other hand, I was walking like an old woman with frozen feet.
I took a deep breath as we reached a point. Here comes the sun and “It’s all right, your bae is with you” I told myself. Keeping my face to the sun, I blossomed like a flower. Got rejuvenated with the glimpse of sunshine and moved forward. After walking for some time, I felt few droplets of sweat on my forehead. That little satisfaction was better than an hour spent in gym. As we walked high, the temperature became normal. There were few taps inserted on the way which provides pure Mountain water. Water was cold, refreshing and tasty. The smell of the water gets you more close towards nature.
Few monks were also walking with us. We had short and nice conversation with them. They were students of group 10 with a teacher, seniors and juniors. The youngest of them all is around 12 yr. They showed us a huge rock with feet stamp on it. “This stone was an evil who disturbed Guru Padmasambhava when he was meditating. Angry Guru Padmasambhava kicked the evil and turned him into a stone” They explained. They were carrying tea flasks and food in casseroles. They were friendly people.
We reached this place which was decorated with flags. And if you observe carefully, there were plastic bottles filled with sand, painted and used for decoration.
There was a Cafeteria which had limited beverages and foods. Everything there was triple the M.R.P. We had some tea and started again.
Here, I realized I lost the stick which was rented for the trek.
After walking for some time, we noticed few houses. Monks might be living there. There was a water pipe connected to that place. Pipe was broke and water was rushing out. Water turned into ice as soon as it poured out. Liquid turning into solid at that temperature in the presence of sunlight seemed interesting to me. As we were walking further, there were stairs to the Monastery. We met few college girls there. They were not so comfortable in English but they understood when we asked “Will you take a picture with us?” in sign language.
As we were walking towards the monastery, it started feeling cold again. There was this beautiful and freezing place where waterfall was turning into ice. I stood there feeling like Elsa in the Snow palace 😉 ❄️
I got down and got into my coats as others were taking pictures. Meanwhile, Akhilesh had given me a stick which he picked from others bundle. He told that it was left idle. I said okay and took it as I lost mine on the way. In a minute, a guy approached me and told that it was his stick. I was surprised, told him that I got confused and picked this as every stick looked similar and gave it to him immediately.
What does he think about me?
Oh No!! May be both of them?
I heard Akhilesh laughing out loud behind me. This was his plan. He gave me the stick intentionally. L
We sat on a bench beside the stairs to eat Chikki(Peanut Truffles) and reached Taktsang Monastery which is also called as Tiger’s Nest. This monastery is one of the most venerated places of pilgrimage in the Himalayan. We submitted our bags and mobiles and went in. They assigned a guide to us.
The history of this sacred place goes back to the eighth century when Padmasambhava, an extraordinary saint who founded the Mahayana school of Buddhism, visited the site. He assumed the terrifying form of Guru Dorje Drolo and cleansed the place of evil spirits to preserve the integrity of Buddhist teachings.
An account has it that Yeshe Tsogyal transformed herself into a tigress(with wings) and carried the Guru on her back from Singye Dzong in eastern Bhutan to Taktshang. In a cave there, the Guru then performed meditation and emerged in eight incarnated forms (manifestations).
The Shrine of Self-Speaking Guru
The story goes that the statue of the Guru was sculptured by Pentsa Deva at Punakha Thangdzong and taken to Taktshang. On arriving at the entrance of the sacred site of Taktshang, the statue is supposed to have spoken: “Do not worry, for someone shall come to carry me to Taktsang!” The statue was miraculously transported and, thereafter, the place is known as the Temple of the Self-Speaking Statue of the Guru.
She showed two idols of women and told that he had one Indian wife and a Tibetan Wife. She told “Nobody can reach this Tiger’s Nest without Guru’s Blessing, You guys are here because he wanted you to be here”. My friends were making fun of those lines but I was mesmerized. That very moment I was thinking about my whole trip and how was it possible to arrange everything in such a short duration and this trek at such low temperature. Wow! This moment listening to guide I felt calm, relaxed and returned with some positive vibes. Such kind of places are peaceful. I loved it. Trek was totally worth.
While returning, I had difficulty in breathing for some time. I met this old man while I was halting. He asked me if I am ok. I said “yes”. He asked me if I need any Glucose toffee or biscuits. I thanked him and took a Toffee. He asked me to take a few deep breaths as it will help the chest congestion and helps me to move further. I did as he guided me. Yes, it helped. Those few deep breaths were lifesaving and stimulated my lymphatic system. He introduced himself as Prasad, 72.Yr.old. “I came to Bhutan Trip with my Wife. As she was not feeling well, I am doing this trek by myself” he explained. I asked him if he’s a frequent traveler and a hiker too. “I had been to uncountable treks all over my life” he expressed proudly. We were inspired.
It was lot easier while walking downwards. Srujana, Akhilesh and I were talking about our college days, jobs, technologies, managers, bosses etc.
How can we rate a trek?
Depending on the difficulty level?
Depending on how beautiful the Peak is?
Depending on how much fun we had?
Depending on how we challenged ourselves to complete the trek despite of the weather and health condition?
For me, it was all of this. I had been for trekking in Western Ghats previously. But here, challenging myself to finish in such low temperature for the first time wasn’t easy but totally worth.
Those few hours of trek through beautiful, shady pine forests was memorable. No trip to Bhutan would be complete without a visit to this remarkable heritage site.
We were starving by the time we reached down. Lochan took us to an Indian Restaurant. We quickly order some food and occupied a 6 seated table. There were benches instead of Chairs. It was more comfortable like this. The ambience was great. Restaurant was empty but well organized. It had an ember which is a glowing hot coal and few stones on top of it. They were hot. May be they were using them as natural heater. Kudos to such ideas. Restaurant was built in Bhutan style and had beautiful designs on the walls. As soon as the food arrived, we ate like Kumbhakarna. This is the picture taken in the restaurent.
Reaching our stay, we rested for some time, played UNO and had a sound sleep.