Location and Layout
Takten Hermitage (Takten RitröRtags bstan ri khrod).
The words rtags bstan mean “revealed sign.”1 According to one source,2 when the famous GelukpaDge lugs pa lamabla ma, Pabongkha Dechen NyingpoPha bong kha bde chen snying po (1878-1941), was looking for a retreat place in the hills north of SeraSe ra, he arrived at this site and had a vision in which a crow spoke to him. This was the “sign” that “revealed” to him that this was the spot where he should remain in retreat.
The hermitage (ritröri khrod) is located northeast of SeraSe ra and just east of Trashi Chöling Hermitage (Trashi ChölingBkra shis chos gling ri khrod). It takes about fifty minutes to walk from TaktenRtags bstan to SeraSe ra, but only about fifteen minutes to reach Trashi ChölingBkra shis chos gling. TaktenRtags bstan is the third hermitage at which pilgrims stop during the “Sixth-Month Fourth-Day” (Drukpa TsezhiDrug pa tshe bzhi) pilgrimage. (To see images of this pilgrimage taken in 2002, please click here.)
The hermitage for the most part consists of caves. Façades (and sometimes rooms) have been added in front of the cave entrances. There are a few separate buildings that have not been constructed onto the face of the cliff, however. Self-arisen images (rangjönrang byon) are ubiquitous throughout the site. One of the most important is the self-arisen image of one of the eyes of Cakrasaṃvara (DemchokBde mchog),3 and indeed TaktenRtags bstan in general is renowned as a site with a strong connection to this deity. There is also a famous spring whose waters are said to have magical, curative properties. The spring is connected with the deity Naro KachömaNa ro mkha’ spyod ma.