There’s a place on earth that even the most seasoned travelers consider a privilege to visit. And, although it is voted one of the world’s top travel destinations, very few make it. This is Druk Yul, Bhutan, the Land of the Thunder Dragon.
You cannot find a more enlightening travel destination today. Perched high on the mighty Himalayan range, the kingdom of Bhutan has defied globalization and chosen to remain a hidden paradise, accessible only to a fortunate few.
Bhutan is marked by raw natural beauty where the dense foliage changes dramatically as the sub tropical jungles at sea level merge into a fertile temperate zone and rise up to the great northern glaciers. This pristine environment is home to exotic wildlife and is a last refuge for endangered species like the Black-Necked Crane, the Blue Sheep, the Golden Langur, even the Royal Bengal Tiger.
Bhutan is the last bastion of Vajrayana Buddhism, a spiritual practice that is known to be one of the most profound schools of teaching in the Buddhist world. The sacred monasteries that sit precariously on sheer cliffs, the fluttering prayer flags that line the high ridges, the red-robed monks who chant through the day and night, give this kingdom an aura that comes from another time.
The people of Bhutan have drawn a rich culture from this heritage and made it the essence of their unique identity. They have decided that man can only survive, and truly live, by being in touch with the past. The onslaught of globalization is balanced with the values that have kept human society together through the ages.
It is no surprise that the main goal in life for the Bhutanese people is happiness. Even the mandate of the modern Bhutanese state is Gross National Happiness. In translation, this means that economic development, a goal for much of humanity, is only a means to the real goal of happiness.
The Kingdom of Bhutan, today, may be man’s last adventured destination. That is how the Bhutanese people would like to keep it. Thus the carefully controlled tourism policy of the Bhutanese government that says, in essence: take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footsteps.
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