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|Subject: ~~Tiger's Nest Monastery~~ Wed Jun 09, 2010 5:48 am|| |
One of the most holy sites in Bhutan, the Guru Rinpoche is said to have flown here on the back of a tigeress and then meditated in a cave, contained within the present structure, for three months. The Tiger’s Nest also called Paro Taktsang and locally known as the Taktsang Dzong is a prominent monastery in the upper Paro valley, Bhutan, built in 1692. It was built around the Taktsang Senge Samdup cave where Guru Padmasambhava is said to have meditated for three months in the 8th century. Padmasambhava is credited with introducing Buddhism to Bhutan and he is considered 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 that devoted to Padmasambhava (also known as Gu-ru mTshan-brgyad Lhakhang, “The Temple of the Guru with Eight Names”) is an elegant structure built around the cave in 1692 by Gyalse Tenzin Rabgye; it has become the cultural icon of Bhutan. A popular festival, known as the Tsechu, held in honour of Padmasambhava, is celebrated in the Paro valley sometime during March or April.
The monastery (goemba in Bhutanese) was built in its present form in 1692. It suffered a devastating fire of unknown origin during the night of April 19, 1998. Speculation is that the fire was caused either by lightening or an overturned butter lamp. Old photographs and diaries were used to make the reconstruction as close to the original as possible, though there was little documentation of the wall paintings and other artwork housed inside.
Special permission is required for non-Bhutanese to visit the monastery, usually granted only to practicing Buddhists on a religous retreat. This photograph was taken from the viewpoint across the valley, the furthest point ordinary tourists can reach before being stopped by a guard.