Bhutan, land of the peaceful Dragon, lies in a hidden corner high in the eastern Himalaya, sandwiched between Tibet to the north and the Indian states of Sikkim to the west, Assam to the south and Arunachel Pradesh to the east. The country within these borders forms a giant staircase, from the grassy floodplains and riverine forests in the south through semi tropical and alpine forests to some of the highest unclimbed Himalayan peaks on earth.
Bhutan is the tiny kingdom practically unknown to the outside world, presents a most fascinating yet an untouched natural beauty, unique culture and ancient traditions. Bhutan is truly SHANGRILA, a mythical country hidden deep in the mountains For centuries isolated, inaccessible and forbidden, this Himalayan Kingdom cautiously opened its borders to curious visitors.
Most of the population continues to live in small, isolated farms and hamlets surrounded by terraced fields of rice and cereal crops. At higher altitudes, in isolated valleys, people still live in tents woven from yak-hair, spending part of the year in alpine pastures, grazing their livestock. Much of Bhutan is still covered in thick forest, which sustains a wealth of plant and bird life. Above the tree line the country is wild and rugged, the mountains are largely unexplored and offer some of the best trekking in the Himalayas.
Cut off for centuries from its neighbors due to its inaccessibility, a visit to Bhutan is much like a journey backwards through time, to a mystical place untouched by the ravages of mankind's progress.... the Last Shangri-La, because of its remoteness, it's spectacular mountain terrain, varied flora and fauna and it's unique ancient Buddhist monasteries. It is relatively unexplored pockets of Asia, which allows only limited number of discerning travelers to enter the country with special travel visa permits.
Bhutan's isolation has resulted its culture and traditions remaining much the same for many hundreds of years. Our weekly departure allows you to experience the stunning beautiful alpine valley flanked by step slopes and terraced pastures dotted with temple. Although travellers are most welcome here, the number of tourists entering Bhutan is restricted and the kingdom has managed to remain nearly untouched by outside influence, with its religion, architecture, environment and lifestyle much the same as they have been for centuries.
Travellers to Bhutan will experience the enchantment of a pure and exotic land, through its ancient fortresses, monasteries and temples, with their imposing architecture and superb art that dot the countryside. Bhutan is endowed with breathtaking natural beauty, surrounded by sacred mountains, virgin peaks and holy lakes. Bhutan is definitely one of the world's most exclusive tourist destinations.
The Bhutanese calendar is marked by many 'Tsechus' or festivals, eagerly awaited events made special with vivid and colourful masked dances, folk dances and religious allegorical plays, set in the cobbled courtyards of the numerous Dzongs and in this ancient and traditional land, it seems fitting that archery is still the national sport.
Old-world capital city is situated in the Wang Chhu river valley at an elevation of 7500 ft./2286 m.
At the Handicrafts Emporium, you may choose your souvenirs from an array of hand-crafted and hand-woven wares. Tashichhodzong, the main secretariat building, houses all the ministers, the National Assembly Hall, the office of the King and the Throne Room. It is also the summer residence of the monk body and the religious chief, the Je Khempo.
The Memorial Chorten is dedicated to the late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, the father of modern Bhutan.
Five miles out of Thimphu, on a lofty ridge, stands the Simtokha Dzong, which was built in 1627 by Shabdrung Nawang Namgyal. It was he who gave Bhutan its first written laws, and established a network of Dzongs, the imposing fortress-monasteries from which the country was governed.
Of all the places to visit in this fascinating country, Paro stands unique both in beauty and in history.
Bhutan's greatest saint, Padma Sambhava, better known as Guru Rimpoche was the one who originally introduced Buddhism into Bhutan. He entered Bhutan through Paro.
Taktsang, or 'Tiger's Nest', is the monastery built around the cave in which Guru Rimpoche, and later his follower Dubthok Singye, meditated. The monastery is precariously situated on the edge of a sheer precipice, and a visit there is a challenge.
Across the river Paro Chhu, stands the Rimpung Dzong. Commanding a panoramic view of the entire Valley, today it houses the Paro monastic body and the offices of the Dzongda (district commissioner) and Thrimpon (district judge).
The Thongdel, Bhutan's most sacred giant sized scroll depicting the eight manifestations of Guru Rimpoche with the two attendants, Khendu Yesey Tsogyel and Khendu Mindha-Rawa, is displayed for a few hours during the Paro Tsechu. Behind Rimpung Dzong, is the majestic castle-like Ta-Dzong. This one-time look-out stronghold has been a National Museum since 1967.
The Capital of Bhutan till 1955, Punakha is still the seat of religion. In 1637, the Shabdrung built the fortress of Punakha to serve as both the religious and administrative centre for Bhutan. In keeping with tradition, the daily rituals, the serving of meals, are carried out in the same manner as was done during the Shabdrung's lifetime.