Prince William and Kate Middleton successfully hiked up a mountain to visit a Buddhist monastery in Bhutan, going one better than the duke's father, Prince Charles, who broke off his climb to paint a watercolour in 1988.

Wills and Kate dressed down for the three-hour trek to the 17th century Taktsang Palphug Monastery, known as the Tiger's Nest, which is perched on a mountainside at 3,000m (10,000ft). Porters were on hand, including one with an oxygen cylinder, but the couple – William is 33, Kate a year older – managed without difficulty as they walked hand-in-hand through sunlit wooded uplands. Kate wore knee-length boots, olive trousers and a leather waistcoat.

Once the royals reached the monastery, they greeted monks in maroon robes and lit butter-fuelled ritual lamps. They listened to a guide detailing the history and legends surrounding Buddhism's most sacred monastery complex, built in 1692. According to one legend, an 8th-century Buddhist master flew to the site on the back of a tigress and subdued a local demon before staying three months to meditate.

On Saturday (16 April) they will return to India to visit the Taj Mahal, which was built in 1632 by Mughul Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favourite wife. William's mother, the late Princess Diana, visited in 1992 and was memorably photographed sitting alone on a bench in front of the marble mausoleum, in an image that came to symbolise her unhappy marriage.

Princess Diana Taj Mahal
Diana, Princess of Wales is pictured in front of the Taj Mahal on 11 February 1992 Tim Graham/Getty Images

Indian newspapers have reported that the British High Commission had asked for scaffolding, erected for repair work, to be removed from the onion-domed Taj Mahal. The Archaeological Survey of India turned down the request. There are also concerns that the site may be overrun by tourists when William and Kate are there, as it only closes for visits by heads of state or government. The British High Commission in New Delhi did not reply to a request for comment.