Location: Paro Valley, Bhutan
Significance: The Guru Rinpoche, his consort Yeshe Tshogyal, and his follower Dubthok Singye meditated there. According to Site Saver’s Spring 1999 issue, in 1748, shortly after the unification of Bhutan, a temple was built around the Taktsang cave, where Guru Rinpoche is said to have meditated.
The Threat: Natural disaster
Preservation Status: In the spring of 1998, the Taktsang temple caught fire. Following the incident, the government of Bhutan has pledged to reconstruct Taktsang over the next five years. Reports in 2001 state that reconstruction of the temple complex has begun, with ritual blessings being conferred in ceremonies by holy men the Je Khenpo and the Gyelse Trulku.
For More Information: How You Can Rebuild Taktsang; A Tiger’s Nest in the Land of the Thunder Dragon; Visiting Temples and Monasteries in Bhutan; Site Saver Newsletter Volume IX, Number 3, Spring 1999; Sacred Sites Newsletter Volume XI, Number 3, Spring/Summer 2001; Sacred Sites Newsletter Volume XII, Number 3, Spring 2002
The following readings on Taktsang have been compiled by Katherine Anne Paul:
- An Introduction to Traditional Architecture of Bhutan. Thimphu, Bhutan: Dept. of Works, Housing, and Roads, Royal Govt. of Bhutan, 1993. A good survey of architectural construction, variety, and use.
- Stan Armington, Bhutan, Hawthorne: Australia, 1998, Lonely Planet Publications. A solid, up-to-date guidebook with sections on sacred sites.
- Michael Aris, The Raven Crown. London: Serinda Publications, 1994. Political history of Bhutan, 17th C with focus on 1904 monarchy.
- Michael Aris and Michael Hutt, eds. Bhutan: Aspects of Culture and Development. Gartmore, Stirlingshire, Scotland: Paul Strachan – Kiscadale Ltd., 1994. Anthology of Bhutan’s modernization process.
- Myers, Diana and Susan Bean, eds, From the Land of the Thunder Dragon: Textile Arts of Bhutan. London, Salem: Serinda Publications, Peabody Essex Museum, 1994. Historical and cultural overview of Bhutan through its textile traditions.
- Françoise Pommaret, An Illustrated Guide to Bhutan. Hong Kong: The Guidebook Co., 1990. Beautiful guidebook by one of the most prominent scholars in the field.
- Schicklgruber, Christian & Françoise Pommaret, eds. Bhutan: Mountain Fortress of the Gods. Boston: Shambhala, 1998. Exhibition catalogue gives broader material culture context for Bhutan’s culture, arts and crafts.