About Bhutan

About BhutanWelcome to Bhutan!!!

Have you ever woken up to the realization that you are helplessly being pulled along with rest of the world in a mad, mad race of buying, selling, producing, mind-zapping media images, headlines, deadlines?

Entire cultures and ecosystems are disappearing even as you read this, while, all around you, the grip of a collective worldwide transformation gnaws at your conscience. Now, here’s the good news.

There is an escape from this madness? Fly into the deep valleys in the fastness of the snowbound mountains, ranged one after the other, under the clear blue sky of clean and rarified atmosphere, detached from worries and the cares of the world.

Your plane slides along the snowy mountainsides, as it prepares to land at Paro International Airport, one of the highest airports in the world, scraping the mountainsides dotted with whitewashed monasteries surrounded by prayer flags and pine trees and finally skimming over traditional houses before it lands on the tarmac on the valley floor.

Welcome to Bhutan, or Drukyul – the Land of the Peaceful Thunder Dragon and happiness.

Snuggled in the folds of the eastern Himalayas, the highest mountain ranges in the world, Bhutan is a country where Vajrayana Buddhism is a way of everyday life and the government measures development in terms of Gross National Happiness; where democracy was handed “top down” from the Golden Throne. Here, traditional values, environmental preservation and good governance take precedence over economic development.

The last Buddhist kingdom in the world, Bhutan is a pocket of calmness wedged between the two most populated countries in the world, India and China.

If you want a peace of mind, far away from the madding crowd, away in serene surroundings, where yesterday was just a vague dream and tomorrow is in the process of germination, then you have arrived at the right place on earth, Bhutan.

Ever since the opening of tourism in 1974, the year of the coronation of His Majesty the King, the Fourth King, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the kingdom has been known for its untouched culture, pristine nature, lush green valleys and majestic snow-covered mountains, which limited our contacts with the outside world till the turn of the last century, but also saved us from being colonized.

A spiritual nation, the country is dotted with monasteries tucked away on the precipitous mountains and the valley floors with prayer flags fluttering on high passes or wooden bridges over roaring streams.

More than 60 percent of the population is engaged in agriculture living a simple life drawing. Buddhism touches and influences all facets of social and cultural life, leaving a deep impact on art, architecture, and traditional dances.

According to a survey, the tourists use three key words to describe Bhutan: “beautiful,” “friendly” and “natural.”

Yes, Bhutan is a natural paradise with 70.2 percent of the land still under forest cover, and a great variety of rare plants and wild life. The constitution of the country mandates that 60 percent of the land surface shall remain under forest for all times to come.

Historical records mention Bhutan as a land of medicinal herbs. Medicinal herbs are still harvested from the mountains and traditional medicine and treatment are still popular with the people.

As beautiful as the land is, the people are friendly and polite. Perhaps it is a manifestation of our cultural heritage.

Come and experience it.

A nation that gave the world the concept of Gross National Happiness (GNH), as opposed to gross domestic product (GDP), Bhutan with 70.2  percent of the land area under forest cover, has been marked as one of the world’s 10 biodiversity ‘hotspots.’

Isolated from the world for centuries, Bhutan opened up to the world only in the early 1960’s when the country adopted a guarded approach to economic development and built its first roads, schools and hospitals. It is only with the coronation of the Fourth King, His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck in 1974 that the country was opened to tourism.

In spite of a cautious tourism policy, the country has been rated as one of the top 20 most exotic travel destinations by National Geographic Travel magazine. Even historically, early European travelers to the country described it as “a country of majestic mountains, haunting ravines and primordial forests” where the people were “the handsomest race of men (I have) ever seen.”

The Bhutanese are known to be easy-going and friendly. A best-selling Canadian writer called the Bhutan a ‘Time Warp.’

FACT FILE ( in brief)

 

Political system: Democratic Constitutional Monarchy

 

Land area: 38,394 square kilometres

 

Capital: Thimphu

 

Population: 733,003

Districts: 20

Forested land area: 70.5%

Protected land area: 26%

Cultivated land area: 7.8%

No. of  schools: 953

No. of hospitals : 32 (2012)

Total length of road: 10,558.3 km (as of  June 2013)

Country code: 975

Local time: Six hours ahead of GMT


Testimonials Sometimes a packaged holiday comes so much with a predefined set of takeaways, but The Destination Bhutan offered so much freedom of choice that it did not feel like a packaged holiday at all.


KH Zaman
Buffalo, New York



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