Up and up and up we went into the clouds today to the holiest temple in Bhutan. Called the Tiger's Nest it is the location of a small but very important temple dedicated to Guru Rimpoche, the man who brought Buddhism to Bhutan sometime in the 8the century. The temple itself was built in the 16th century and, amazingly, completely rebuilt 10 years ago after a fire destroyed most of the buildings. Apparently the cognoscenti of the world helped to fund the reconstruction of the temple, including Seattle's own Gates Foundation.
All that is nice but what's really fascinating is that it's built in a tiny ledge on a tall cliff, and its as evocative and mystical as you imagine it to be. Appropriately no pictures are allowed inside the temple, which is lovely for everyone including us tourists. Magically we sat on the floor of one of the smaller temple rooms and listened to a group of Bhutanese and Taiwanese chanting. They chanted completely different mantras, mixing the deep throated vibrating Dzongha (the Bhutanese language) chanting with the furious and repetitive Mandarin of the Taiwanese. All in a cloud of insense and butter candle smoke.
The afternoon was spent at a ruined Dzong (monestary-fortress) built by the uniter of Bhutan and at a local farm where I tasted Butter Tea. I have a secondary bucket list comprised of things I'm curious about but would be fine not discovering. It's mostly food items and Butter Tea was on it. Strangely tasty, very rich, definitely I-hike-mountains-to-survive food. The highlight was the snack of popped and friend rice served like finger food. Crunchy and moorish.
More photos to come. I've finally encountered some technical problems I can't easily resolve