The Kingdom of Bhutan – a country untouched by civilization

Kingdom of Bhutan. Who lives well in the Land of the Dragon?

The Kingdom of Bhutan allowed tourism only in 1974. The country is still little explored, and the two-hour climb to the monastery of Taksang-lakhang (“Tiger’s Nest”) is still hard to call a tourist excursion.

Bhutan's flag against the sky

“There is no way to get into Bhutan. You can get a visa only after buying a tour at one of the official travel agencies. To get to the kingdom can only be by air, because the Himalayas separate the kingdom from India, and on the other side of Bhutan is closed from civilization no less strict with respect to tourism Tibet.

There is only one airline flying to Bhutan, Druk Air. “Druk” means “country” and the kingdom itself is called “Druk-Yul” – “Land of the Dragon” or “Land of the Thunder Dragon” by its inhabitants. As for the word “Bhutan,” according to various versions, it means either “mountainous country” or “south of Tibet.

A day in Bhutan will cost about $300 per person. And then there is the ticket, the fee for each day of stay, excursions.

Hotels in Bhutan offer a very unconventional way to travel: flying in a hot air balloon. This is the only way to see the beauty of the scenery and monasteries. Attraction number 1 in the description of the country is the ice valley Phobjikha with Gangtey-gompa monastery. The valley is a unique corner of nature, where you can see a rare species of black-necked cranes.

  • Aimed at ordinary people, not monks.
  • Practices more mystical than spiritual.
  • Very big role of guru (mentor).
  • Emphasis on teachings that will transform a person into a divine incarnation in a short time or at least in the course of life.
  • A good imagination of the follower is very much appreciated, so that in meditations he could see and form images of deities, Buddhas and other supernatural essences.
  • The importance of the feminine and the practice of various forms of sexual yoga.

A representative of Bhutan's indigenous population

The choice of this particular religion is not accidental. The state seeks to make its subjects as happy as possible. Even this economic indicator of GDP has been replaced by the Gross National Happiness indicator. The Ministry of Happiness is responsible for the growth of the indicator, and happiness itself is the cornerstone of Bhutan’s policy. Bhutan’s indigenous population Photo: Steve Evans, ru.wikipedia.org

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The country’s last census was conducted in 2005. At that time, 96.8% of residents responded that they were happy or very happy, and only 3.2% admitted that they had not yet experienced full happiness.

The various monks and gurus in Bhutan have been revered for a very long time. As far back as the eighth century, the famous Indian Buddhist tantra teacher Padma-sambhava meditated at the Gangtey-gompa monastery and was called the “Precious Teacher” by Bhutanese.

The monasteries of Bhutan are called dzongs. They are traditionally placed in the most beautiful places in the kingdom, on hilltops and river bends. Monks have many responsibilities, including the role of babysitters: a child can be left at the monastery for a day and picked up in the evening. Such are the kindergartens.

Many children live in the monasteries permanently, doing one kind of work or another. When the child reaches adulthood, he can choose: to go to the city or to become a monk.

Peeling potatoes, mopping floors, beating ritual drums and sitting on a wooden floor – it’s hard to call it a happy childhood, but maybe it’s us “people of civilization” who don’t get it? Taktsang-lakhang (“tigress’s nest”) monastery, where the main Padmasambhava meditation caves are located, near Paro Photo: ru.wikipedia.org

Getting to the dzongs is not easy. The way to the “Tiger’s Nest” is a two-hour hike of 1,000 meters. It seems to be a short distance, but the way lies up the cliff, inside which the monastery is built. Given that the road to the dzong begins at a height of 2 km from sea level, you should think carefully before climbing the slopes. However, wealthy tourists can go on horseback or donkey.

The largest dzong is located in the area Punatkhka. This monastery-fortress built by order of the first king of Bhutan, who unified the country. His name was Ugyen Wangchuck. Since 2008, Bhutan has been ruled by his descendant, Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck. He is the youngest reigning monk in the world today.

According to local rules the king is called Druk Gyalpo – “the Dragon King” . If you suddenly have to address the ruler of Bhutan, do not forget to say: ‘Ngada Rimboche (Your Majesty).

The festival in honor of the arrival of cranes for the winter can be a striking event for the tourist. The event is really unique because it has no exact date and it is not easy to schedule a visit to Bhutan for the return of birds.

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Held on the seventh day after the return of cranes from Tibet, and the place will have to travel through three mountain passes. The name of the place is Phobjikha.

Since the festival is organized by the Bhutanese for themselves, no tourist “cranberry” here. National costumes, games, songs and dances are held without any show off, just for fun.

Bhutan, of course, the country is not rich, but the index of national happiness is growing, so that soon all 100% residents of the Thunder Dragon Country will live well. And even better!

Bhutan is a kingdom on the southern slope of the Himalayas

monastery in butane

Bhutan is a small mountainous country. The capital city is Thimphu. Many tourists ask: Where is the country of Bhutan? The answer is simple – in Asia, between the two great powers: India and China. It is located on the southern slope of the Himalayas. Right in the center of Bhutan stretches the Black Mountains. Bhutan’s airport is the only flat place in the state.

The fascinating and mysterious country of Bhutan, whose photos you can see at the link, is landlocked. It is located on the eastern slopes of the Himalayas. Because of this, the terrain in the country is mountainous and densely forested.

The head of state with the form of government of a limited monarchy is the king. The second ruler of the state after the king is the Supreme Lama. The Council of Ministers as well as the Royal Consultative Council play an executive role. The National Assembly, consisting of one chamber, represents the legislative body.

The history of Bhutan goes back thousands of years. Previously the surrounding countries did not know of the existence of this state. The culture was born here in 747 thanks to Rinpoche, a spiritual teacher who came from Pakistan. He spread Buddhism among the inhabitants. In 1616 all the disparate parts of Bhutan were united thanks to Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, who came from Tibet. This is the most significant event in the history of the state. In the 17th century Bhutan was attacked twice by the Mongols. However, thanks to Shabdrung, the attacks were repelled. After his death, Bhutan fell into turmoil. It ended in 1907 when the first king came to power. Since then, power has been handed down by succession. The country is no longer closed to the outside world and allowed visits of tourists in 1974.

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Bhutan

The people of this fascinating kingdom are no less beautiful than Bhutan itself. They are responsive and hospitable. They are peaceful and are not spoiled by the poverty and vices of the modern world. Bhutanese love to have fun. Archery has become a local sport. Archery fields have been built all over the country. When a player hits a target, his cheerful support team runs out to him and sings a song of praise.

All Bhutanese walk in their national costumes. The King and Queen of Bhutan are very much concerned with the observance of traditions . If a resident doesn’t wear the traditional costume, he won’t get to an appointment with some very necessary authority. If it were not for the monarch’s care, many of the inhabitants might have long since drunk and suffered from smoking. It was the king who banned smoking all over the country.

Bhutan – the country of happiness

Since absolutely all religions except Buddhism are banned in the country, the king considers it his duty to make every citizen of the country happy. For this purpose, in 2008, the “Commission for General People’s Happiness” was established. In the census, citizens are asked the question: Are you happy? The majority of those surveyed systematically answer positively.

Bhutan has a Ministry of Happiness. Happiness is at the head of national policy. GDP has been replaced by gross national happiness.

Bhutan is a truly happy and bright country. It is open to others.

yogini with Bhutanese girls

The official language is Dzong-ke. It, like Bumthang – the language used in peripheral areas and in the east of the country – has no written norms. Tibetan has been used for these purposes since ancient times. In the last few years, English has been taught in schools and is gaining momentum in its diffusion in Bhutan. An interesting fact is that road signs here are drawn by hand! Often they are signed, also by hand.

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Bhutan – a country that is environmentally friendly

Interestingly, at every step there are garbage cans with the words “do not forget about me” and “use me. This is how the authorities are fighting for cleanliness in the state.

It is forbidden to kill animals and cut down forests in the state. Trees, on the contrary, are constantly being planted. It is also forbidden to bring chemical fertilizers into Bhutan, so all the plants that grow here are environmentally friendly.

Due to these prohibitions, most of the country is a nature reserve, untouched by the hand of man.

flowers in butane

Bhutan has almost no domestic production. Everything is imported from India. It is thanks to this state does not pollute the environment.

Interestingly, television is banned in the entire country. Few people have televisions and they are used to watch videos.

The signs of the various establishments are not diverse or creative. They are all the same, regardless of the type of activity: wooden rectangular signs with blue stickers and white inscriptions.

Bhutan – the land of gingerbread houses

In the mid-seventies, the king ordered that all houses be painted. Therefore, Bhutan is often referred to as the country of gingerbread houses. The motifs mostly consist of ornaments. They are complemented by images of animals and plants. ResidentsBhutan compete with each other in decorating their homes.

Traditionally, all houses consist of three floors. The first floor is the stable, the second floor is the bedroom, the prayer room and the kitchen, and the third floor is a place for drying hay.

The symbol of this mountainous state is a large beautiful butterfly called the Glory of Bhutan. Its wingspan is 12 cm.

butterfly on a flower

Bhutan – country of rice, tea and pepper

The mainstay of Bhutan’s cuisine is rice. It is consumed everywhere and always. Most of the people are vegetarians. The use of beans and chili peppers is widespread. After a spicy meal, the inhabitants of this mountainous country prefer to drink tea with oil and salt called souza. Tea is drunk both black and green.

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If you are going to Bhutan, this trip will certainly not leave you indifferent. Here you will find yourself outside of time and space. Happiness and silence reigns here. There is no hustle and bustle. In the forests on the slopes of the Himalayas a large number of Buddhist monasteries.

yogis in Bhutan

The time difference with Moscow is three hours. There are no direct flights from Russia to Bhutan. You can reach the kingdom with a connection in Delhi, Singapore, Mumbai or Kathmandu.

In most cases, tourists travel around Bhutan on transfers booked in advance by tour operators. Locals use buses to get around. You can often see Bhutanese voting. Despite the difficult terrain, the roads here are in excellent condition.

The official currency is BTN. In the central region of the country is accepted by any world currency and checks of any company. In peripheral areas it is virtually impossible to exchange foreign currency.

Tipping is not accepted in the country. Despite this, the hotel staff, tour guides will be immensely grateful for even the smallest remuneration from tourists.

Haggling Bhutanese are not able, and do not want to. Prices are fixed everywhere.

Particular attention should be paid to altitude sickness, which appears when the tourist ascends above 2500 meters.

To visit Bhutan, you will need to get a visa. You have to fill in a declaration, which should necessarily include all imported photo, video, and electronic equipment. If any of the imported items remain in the country as a gift or a commodity for sale, the tourist will be required to pay customs duty on these items. It is forbidden to take local currency out of Bhutan. Tourists must declare the currency they bring into the country.

During a trip to Bhutan in 2017, a lecture by A. Verba was recorded. Enjoy watching it!

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