Paro Taktsang, the cultural icon of Bhutan

Paro Taktsang, the cultural icon of Bhutan - Culture's Ways

Paro Taktsang, also known as the Taktsang Palphug Monastery and the Tiger’s Nest, is a prominent Himalayan Buddhist sacred site and the temple complex is located in the cliffside of the upper Paro valley in Bhutan.

 

What is the Paro Taktsang Monastery ?

A temple complex was first built in 1692, around the Taktsang Senge Samdup cave where Guru Padmasambhava (an Indian Buddhist master) is said to have meditated for three years, three months, three weeks, three days and three hours in the 8th century. Padmasambhava is credited with introducing Buddhism to Bhutan and is the tutelary deity of the country. Today, Paro Taktsang is the best known of the thirteen taktsang or “tiger lair” caves in which he meditated.

The temple devoted to Padmasambhava is an elegant structure built around the cave in 1692 by Gyalse Tenzin Rabgye; and has become the cultural icon of Bhutan. A popular festival, known as the Tsechu, held in honor of Padmasambhava, is celebrated in the Paro valley sometime during March or April.

Background and legends

According to the legend related to this Taktsang, which literally means “Tiger’s lair”, it is believed that Padmasambhava flew to this location from Tibet on the back of a tigress from Khenpajong. This place was consecrated to tame the Tiger demon.

An alternative legend holds that a former wife of an emperor, known as Yeshe Tsogyal, willingly became a disciple of Padmasambahva in Tibet. She transformed herself into a tigress and carried the Guru on her back from Tibet to the present location of the Taktsang in Bhutan. In one of the caves here, the Guru then performed meditation and emerged in eight incarnated forms (manifestations) and the place became holy. Subsequently, the place came to be known as the “Tiger’s Nest”.

Image: By Douglas J. McLaughlin, CC BY 2.5
Text: Wikipedia contributors. “Paro Taktsang.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 30 Sep. 2017. Web. 4 Nov. 2017.

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