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INTRODUCTION TO BHUTAN

The kingdom of Bhutan is landlocked nation nestled in the eastern Himalayas, bordering China to the North and India to the south, with the total area of 38394 sq. km. It lies between 88°45’ and 92°10’ longitude east, 26°42’and 28°15’ latitude north. It is mountainous country except for the strip of plains in south.

Earl Ronald shay wrote in his “Land of the thunderbolt” in 1923,
“With our passage through the bridge, behold a curious transformation. For just as Alice, when she walked through the looking-glass, found herself in a new and whimsical world, so we, when we crossed the Pa-chhu, found ourselves, as though caught up on some magic time machine fitted fantastically with a reverse, flung back across the centuries into the feudalism of a mediaeval age”. 

Archaeological evidence suggests Bhutan was inhabited as early as 1500 BC, or possibly even 2000 BC. Its first inhabitants were monadic herders who lived in low lying valleys in winter and moved their animals to higher land in summer; some people still live this way today. Buddhism was probably introduced in Bhutan in 2ndcentury, although historian says the first Buddhist temples- Kichu monastery in Paro was built only in 7th century AD.

Bhutan maintained its independency despite intervention from Tibet from north and British India from south, until 2008 Bhutan was monarchy ruled by our beloved kings, the king give his power to his son and introduced democratic constitutional monarchy.

A least developed country in 1960 with GDP per capita of only USD 51, then the lowest in the world, in 2006 Bhutan GDP per capita is USD 1414, which is highest in the region.

Bhutan is a country with a mosaic of cultures, lifestyle, languages and belief, its rich and unique culture heritage has largely remained intact. Unlike many countries, traditional arts, age-old ceremonies, festivals, social conduct and structures are not remnants of a bygone age but are practiced as they were done hundreds of years ago.

With the unique development philosophy based on the principals of Gross National Happiness, Bhutan is becoming increasing known for its visionary and dynamic leadership under the monarchs. It holds uncompromising stance on environmental conservation and is known for the policy of ‘high value and low volume’ tourism, rich tradition and cultural heritage, pristine ecology and abundant wildlife.  It is a paradise of unparalleled scenic beauty with majestic virgin peaks, lush valleys, unspoiled countryside and terraced rice fields. Fascinating architecture, monumental fortresses, fluttering prayer flags, hospitable people and devout Buddhist culture makes the kingdom of Bhutan extraordinarily special.
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