We had plans to go to Phuntsholing this weekend, the Indian Border town, but on Thursday our plans changed. Jigme, one of the staff here and one of our friends, offered to take us to “The Tiger’s Nest.” Since he used to be a tour guide and Taktsang (Bhutan for Tiger’s Nest) is high on our to-do list, we dropped our Phuntsholing plans and came with him to Paro, the city where his family lives.
We stayed with his family in their home, which alone was worth the trip. They were incredibly hospitable from the moment we got there- making us coffee over our refusal, insisting that Americans love coffee! They even gave us lessons in tying Kira and Gho- the traditional dress. I had worn the Gho once before, but someone helped dress me because it is so difficult. After a few tips from Jigme, his mother retreived some of the family’s best kira and gho, and insisted that Brittany and I put on a fashion show! One Gho was brand new! Another she had woven herself! And one was a gift to Jigme’s dad from the Queen Mother herself! Not only was it fun but it was quite an honor to be welcomed so well in their house.
As our last night came to a close, Jigme’s mother gave Brittany and me each a gift! I received a hand woven tie and Brittany received the most beautiful and soft scarf I’ve ever seen. (Also hand made by Jigme’s Mother!)
Not to mention his sister’s excellent traditional Bhutanese cooking! Brittany, who loves to cook, of course learned a few things and when we returned she prepared “Kewa Datse”. Cheesy potatoes. Yum.
We started at 8AM, and reached the temple around 11. It was a very steep hike, but well worth it. I’m also glad we went early, as there weren’t many others on the trail. As well as being one of Bhutan’s best tourist attractions, it is also a very spiritual place, and many Bhutanese and Indians visit often for religious purposes. The tiger’s nest had 8 or 9 separate temples inside of it, and a maze of staircases connecting them. The air was filled with the sound of horns, drums, and chanting monks. There is no cable car or gondola, so everything that the monks need is brought up by foot or pack-horse regularly.
Check out the photos and the video below. The red house is where we stayed.