7th April 2013
After many days of road travel and good food, it was time to
burn some fat. Hike to Tiger Nest (Taktsang) monastery was on cards. Perched precariously
on a hill top, the only way to reach the monastery is to trek. Horses are also available
for people who do not prefer walking. But the catch is that they are available
only for hiking up. The last 800 steps must be covered by foot as well as
Looking at our daughter’s ‘performance’ so far, it was
unlikely that she would walk 800 steps or climb down on her own. So, it was
decided that it will be either me or my wife who will visit the monastery. My
wife volunteered to stay back in the resort with the kid.
Travel and the trek
It was the day of “No vehicle day” in Bhutan. Practiced each
month, only public transport vehicles were allowed to ply on the roads that day.
Another exception was for the vehicles carrying tourist for which a permit must
be obtained. So, we were allowed to go!!
A drive of about 30 minutes brought us to the starting point
of the trek. We were at an altitude of about 8,500 feet ASL and the monastery
is at 10,200 feet ASL. Hence it is advisable not to perform this day during the
start of your Bhutan trip. Allowing some time to acclimatize would make this trek
a simple task.
We have all seen how a loaded lorry struggles to climb up
the road. The same lorry without a lorry goes a good speed!! Same applies to
human beings!! I just had a camera and a water bottle enabling me to climb up
at a good speed. Good weather and shady path added to the speed. I saw myself
overtaking horses. Unlike the ones I had seen in ‘Char dham’ trip, these horses
seem to be well fed and maintained.
About one hour of walking brought me to cafeteria which
serves food and drinks. Here is the nice view of Taktsang monastery.
Another 30 minutes of climb and I was at the end of foot
path. The path further goes down on the edge of the hill and then climbs up to
the monastery. Steps are constructed and the path is well protected by
Camera and mobiles are not allowed in the monastery. The
lockers which were empty did not have the locks and I could not think of
leaving expensive camera and mobile just in open!! But my guide convinced that
they would be safe even without locks. My experience with Bhutan and its people
had been great so far and I believed my guide there.
I would not get into the details of monastery as there is
tons of information on the web.
Climbing down took less time but I found it difficult as it was hard on my knees. Lunch was the cafeteria on the way.
Labels: Bhutan, Himalayas, trek