Land of the Thunder Dragon
Known for its distinct cultural identity, Bhutan is a small country lying between India and China. The magnificence of the traditional ways yet retained can take you back in time, giving you a quick glimpse of the customs that are fast disappearing. Between the thick forests and humungous mountains, you will find a people that are welcoming with a spirit to preserve their cultural heritage amidst the ever changing world. A serene and picturesque view adds to the experience of encountering a unique blend of tourism. Druk-yul, the official name of Bhutan is something that most Bhutanese still call it. Druk-yul means “Land of the Thunder Dragon’. Early history of Bhutan is woven with folklore and mythology. Guru Rinpoche is believed to have brought Mahayana Buddhism into Bhutan from Tibet. Bhutan was never colonized. The medieval and modern history of Bhutan is better documented than its early history. This time talks about wars and battles, treachery and feuds with giant forts and castles being a part of the time. A visit to Bhutan will show you the striking Dzongs (fortresses) that are a center of worship. A walk through the past will brilliantly show how the past is a central part of the Bhutan’s present. A political entity was attached to the country in the 17th century with the Tibetan Lamas who established an administrative structure. The currency of Bhutan is Ngultrum or the Nu and it’s value is fixed to the Indian Rupee. Some of the first tourists allowed into Bhutan were in 1974. Thimpu, the capital of Bhutan boasts of commercial liveliness. You can witness red robed monks, government officials and tourists, all in the same city. The enchanting city offers cafes, club and restaurants and is a perfect mix of the old and new. The national dress for men is the gho, whereas kira is the dress worn by the women. The kira that has undergone many variations, you will yet be able to pick up the traditional one for yourself. Buddhism is the religion followed by majority of the people and is sponsored by the government. One of the most popular dishes in Bhutan is the Ema Datshi, a mix of Bhutanese red and white rice. The people of Bhutan are bound by the government to keep at least 60 percent of the nation under forest at all times. FUN FACTS • Gangkhar Puensum is the highest mountain in Bhutan, located at 24,840 feet and was the ancient capital of the Kingdom of Bhutan. • Birthdays are never forgotten in this country, as all the people officially grow older on New Years’ Day. • The barometer for measuring economic growth of the country is based on Buddhist cultural and spiritual values and is measured by the Gross National Happiness, GNH. • The internet was a gift to the people from King Jigme Singye to celebrate his 25th year of reign, in 2000. Best month to visit Bhutan is November, as the Black Necked Crane Festival is celebrated in this month. Unravel the mysteries of this intriguing country and be there to experience the cultural affluence of the Bhutanese. A welcoming country, Bhutan has all that a historical, geographical and a modern place can offer. Experience culture first hand with a road trip to Bhutan accompanied by highly experienced guides.
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