Royals Don't Sweat! William and Kate Breeze Through a 5-Hour, High-Altitude Hike in the Himalayas
For their second day in Bhutan, the couple ascended to one of the kingdom's most holy sites
Kate was dressed for the occasion in chic Penelope Chilvers boots which she paired with a nubuck waistcoat from the Really Wild Company.
It took the royal couple about an hour to reach the half-way point at the Prayer Wheel and William look puffed – but Kate was not perspiring!
As they stopped William quipped, “Easy!”
Putting his arm around Kate they posed for a brief photo call with the magnificent spiritual spot perched on a sheer cliff behind them on the mountainside.
“So far, so good. Stunning,” William proclaimed.
Director of the National Museum Khenpo Phuntshok Tashi then explained the significance of the spot, the centerpiece of which is the giant Prayer Wheel and a group of 22 smaller wheels.
Visitors taking on the pilgrimage to Buddhist’s most sacred spot in the country stop at the wheel to chant and say prayers, spinning each one as they do.
The climb (which can be made by very experienced hikers in less than one hour!) culminates with an arrival at Paro Taktsang, otherwise known as Tiger’s Nest – one of the most breathtaking temples in the world and also the most spiritual place in the whole of Bhutan.
On the way up, the royal couple stopped to talk to three trekkers from California who were returning down from the mountain, Lauren McKennan, 29, from San Francisco, Chris Steele, 27, and Alex Willmore, 28, both from Oakland.
“They were pretty altogether,” McKennan told reporters. “There wasn’t a single trail of sweat. They stopped to talk to us for three to five minutes and were absolutely charming.”
Willmore added, “They asked us how long we had been here and talked about how lovely the weather was.
“They said how rainy it had been when they were doing the archery and how glad they were doing the trek today.
“We asked for a photograph they just laughed and wouldn’t do it. But they were absolutely charming, very cool, very nice. They kept on saying how beautiful it was.”
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Built in 1692, there is a cave inside the temple with special spiritual significance: 8th-century Buddhist deity Guru Rinpoche, who brought Buddhism to Bhutan, is said to have flown to the cave atop a tigress before fasting for 90 days to battle the demons that inhabited the valley. The cave itself is only opened once a year in a special ceremony.
“It is a magical place that The Duke and Duchess are thrilled to be visiting,” their spokesman said previously, adding that the trek “will allow them to get a real sense of the natural and spiritual beauty of the country.”
“It is very good for Kate and William come here,” Sonam Penjor who works in the Bhutan information department, told reporters.
“The United Kingdom and Bhutan already had a relationship before Prince Charles came here before in 1988, but he only make it to the cafeteria, the halfway point.
“So he took some nice shots but he was not able to come to this point. Maybe the altitude affected him,” he added. “I think his son and daughter-in-law wanted to beat him!
“They wanted to recapture his father’s memories but go further. And maybe later George and Charlotte will come to follow in their parents’ footsteps.”