The Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park is a specialist zoo with a focus on the preservation and conservation of rare Himalayan species and has breeding programs for animals such as the red panda, Tibetan wolf and snow leopard. Other local fauna include yaks, tigers, several leopard species and the Himalayan black bear.
Entrance fees for foreign visitors are 100 rupees (approx. €1.60) and includes entrance to the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute which shares the site. Opening hours are 8.30 to 16.00 and the park is closed on Thursdays.
Taktshang is the most famous of Bhutan's many monasteries.The monastery is commonly known as ' The Tiger's Nest', a name which reflects the belief that Guru Padmasambhava (the man who brought Buddhism to Bhutan) flew to the site of the temple on the back of a flying tigress. His visit in the 8th century involved a three month meditation in the cave that now forms one of the main temples within the monastery.
The first sanctuary at Taktshang was built by Nyingmapa lamas in the 14th century and the temple was rebuilt in the 17th century, restored in the 19th and 20th and devastated in 1998. The most recent renovation and rebuilding has been completed and the Tiger's Nest is once again open to the public by written permit.
The monastery sits more than 900 meters above the car park. The route up is uneven and steep, visitors should remember that they are at altitude and take lots of water, sunblock and time. There is a cafeteria just beyond the midpoint of the climb where drinks and food are available. Those unable or unwilling to climb can take horses to the cafeteria but beyond that there is no choice other than to walk and climb up and down several hundred stone steps.
The monastery has several temples within the complex including one where you can see the cave in which the guru is said to have meditated and in which a later lama was said to have been born. Access to the temples depends on finding a caretaker monk to open the doors so some patience may be required, especially around meal times.
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