Bhutan—The Land of Thunder Dragon
Mysterious, untouched and never colonized. Bhutan, known as the Land of The Thunder Dragon and snuggled between India and China in the mighty Himalayas, has remained in splendid isolation for centuries.
“So few outsiders have seen Bhutan that each one who came before 1974 gets his own write-up in the Lonely Planet guide,” wrote a travel editor. Until 1921, only thirteen foreign missionaries visited Bhutan, and the first group of tourists was admitted for the first time in 1974. The first road was built in the late 1960s. Television and Internet came only in 1999, 30 years after Neil Armstrong landed on the moon.
As such, Bhutan has remained outside the gaze of the western world and it has carved out a unique identity largely influenced by Buddhism. It’s a deeply spiritual land where the myths have not yet been stripped of its transcendental values. Bhutan is one of the rare countries in the world that has preserved its ancient culture and traditions in harmony with the process of modernization.
In this small tract of land, roughly the size of Switzerland, it has one of the most rugged terrains in the world and holds one of the world’s richest vegetation. Bhutanese live life based on deep respect for the environment and with compassion for all sentient beings. So much so, that its constitution states that a minimum of 60% of Bhutan’s total land shall remain under forest cover for all time to come.
There is much to see and experience, whether it is the rare wildlife, the never-ending forested mountains, transcendent tranquility, or insight into an untarnished culture. And perhaps, it is also a home to the mythical Yeti!
Today, Bhutan is widely known as the kingdom of happiness for its unique and profound philosophy called Gross National Happiness (GNH). The philosophy was conceived based on the fundamental belief that happiness is the greatest indicator of human wealth.