“How many times have you been up?” asks Brian, a visiting surgeon from New York city.
“I don’t remember. All I know is, save for 2020, when everything was shut down, I have been coming up at least twice a year since 1996.” I reply. “And it is always like coming up for the first time.”
Maybe it is the divine powers, but I never get this ‘been-there-done-that’ with Taktshang. Maybe it is the stunning beauty – both natural and man made. Or maybe it is its iconic and celebrity status. I do go up quite often.
This time I walked up with Brian who had blistered soles, a shooting diarrhoea, a headache and giddiness (I think that was altitude sickness) but who was hell-bent on getting up there.
“If you guys have carried up all those timber and cement and boulders, and built that for us, I can pull myself up, even if I have to crawl.”
We laughed. Brian is a guy who makes humour out of everything or always has a way of saying that warms up the world around him. Truly a guy who you would like to hang out with everyday.
So, while you may be doing it again and again, the energy that your travelling companions bring are diffferent. No two trips to Taktshang, therefore, feel the same. Brian made it up there too.
I have many other such inspiring stories.
A Thai woman friend called Penny, who had a stroke the year before, pushed up with the help of two locals we hired. And when she did make it, she said if she died at Taktshang she was ok with it.
Another time it was with an American professor who was so unfit that we were so slow – that an old woman who was leading a blind husband up, overtook us below the cafeteria. We both laughed at our embarrassing performance.
And, philosophically too, if you look closely every trip is different. The weather is different. The sky is different. There is new prayer flag, a new paint job, a new monk caretaker taking you around, a new guy frisking your gho at the entrance. Living your moment means noticing these little things in life, some of which bring you joy.
Some things never change. There is this one enduring constant – the sheer power, blessings and moelam of Taktshang.
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