Sunday, October 30, 2011
Guru Rinpoche and His Tigress
The story states that the Rinpoche saw the face of the holy Buddhist Protector imprinted in the cliff. He then found a cave high on the cliff and used it as his mediation center in the eighth century. Many years later, in the 17th century, the ruler of Paro valley built the monastery around the cave up on the cliff. Today, the Tiger’s Nest Monastery, hanging above the second biggest city in Bhutan, is one of the greatest architectural feats for the Bhutanese culture.
We started up the dusty, steep path and found ourselves exhausted at the halfway point. From there, we walked to the highest point on the hike and proceeded across a gorge to the base of the monastery. Again, we were not allowed cameras inside the temple. Okay, I am starting to get a little annoyed at the no camera rule. I show up all excited to take pictures of the inside of the temple and Karma tells me “no pictures allowed!” Still, I loved viewing the inside of the monastery.
Inside, we saw the classic meditative Buddha decorated with bright colors and gold. Karma, my parents, and I watched from a small alcove as a group of young monks set up, and preformed, a spectacular ceremony. They chanted and blew on two long ceremonial horns. A young monk blew on a horn made out of a human thigh bone and two other monks played reed instruments. Several other young monks banged on drums and cymbals. The oldest monk moved about at the alter but I could not make out his exact movements. After watching this amazing scene, we quietly left the alcove and continued our tour.
We walked down to the basement of the monastery, where we entered a room with a doorway into the sacred cave of Guru Rinpoche. Sadly, the door had a big fat padlock, and Karma said that only once a year was it open to the public. Having finished our tour of the Tiger’s Nest, we had a blast running down the hill and jumped into the car.
Tonight is our last night in Bhutan and tomorrow we will fly to India! There, we will participate in a rickshaw rally from Mumbai to New Delhi. I have heard from my mom that India is loud, chaotic, dirty, and scary, yet she also tells me that it is her favorite country to visit. I am thoroughly confused and am a little scared.
We are not sure what the internet situation will be like in India, so if you do not hear from me, we are still safe and having the adventure of our lives!
Thank you for reading Rohan Geographic!