Paro Taktsang: The Breathtaking Himalayan Cloud Monastery
The Legendary Foundation and Reconstruction of the Paro Taktsang Monastery
The building of Paro Taktsang Monastery was built nine centuries later, in 1692, by Gyalse Tenzin Rabgye, Bhutan’s leader at the time. He is believed to have been the reincarnation of Padmasambhava and founded the monastery by planting its first stone during a visit to the holy caves. Legend says that when the temple was built, it was anchored to the cliff by the hairs of female celestial beings known as khandroma.
Between 1961 and 1965, the monastery was renovated by the 34th Je Khenpo, Shedrup Yoezer and further additions were made in 1861-65, 1982-83, and again in 1992.
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On April 19, 1998, a fire broke out at Paro Taktsang, destroying valuable paintings, artifacts and statues. Most of the buildings were burned down and a monk was killed during the blaze. Since the temple is difficult to access, emergency assistance was impossible at the time.
However, the monastery has since been meticulously rebuilt and restored to its original form in 2005 by Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the fourth king of Bhutan. The restoration is estimated to have cost around 135 million ngultrum (more than 2 million USD) and today Paro Taktsang is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country.
Taktsang prayer wheel, Paro Taktsang Monastery, Bhutan ( Wikimedia Commons )
Bhutan is deeply connected to its natural surroundings and its heritage seems to stem from ancient spirituality. The Taktsang Monastery is a modern day example of this spiritual history as well as the powerful Bhutanese connection to Buddhism.
Featured Image: Paro Taktsang Monastery, Bhutan ( Wikimedia Commons )
By Bryan Hill
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