The last Shangri-La, the abode of the gods and the mystical kingdom are some of the romantic soubriquets that permeate queries about Bhutan and its relatively quiet profile. And it’s not just rhetoric!
Bhutan or the ‘Land of the Thunder Dragon’ may have shed centuries of self imposed isolation but it keeps reinventing itself as a unique nation with an identity all its own. Today, it is the world’s youngest democracy, gifted to the people by none other than the fourth king himself. The guiding development philosophy here is Gross National Happiness and not Gross National Product. Tradition, culture and the environment are zealously guarded. Religion is a way of life in this last Buddhist kingdom which boasts a rich and diverse flora and fauna unrivalled in the Himalayas.
Bhutan ranks among the world’s top travel destinations but very few visitors make the journey. It has to do with the kingdom’s ‘High Value, Low Volume’ tourism policy, designed to preserve the nation’s rich cultural heritage. Those who visit might discover a land and a people set in a rare balance of modernity and tradition, beauty and harmony.