Talk to any tourists what Bhutan means to them and you will be overwhelmed by the myriad of reasons as there are leaves on a Cypress tree, the national tree of the quaint kingdom. Its capacity to survive in rugged harsh terrain is compared to simplicity, which aptly defines the life of the Bhutanese.
Bhutan is often touted as an oasis of innocence in our rapid and frenzied world — a kingdom where all things are measured with the intangible yardstick of compassion and wisdom. This may have been resulted from deeply rooted Buddhist folklore and mythology, featuring paramount deeds and supernatural beings. It is encouraged to let your imagination flow, while visualizing the spirit of Bhutan’s history, rather than rationalizing her historical truth. The leadership of the third king brought The Land of the Thunder Dragon out from its medieval heritage and seclusion, though against the tide of modernization, Bhutan has cautiously controlled growth in a concerted effort to safeguard their national identity.
An early bird catches its worm, for this case, catching a glimpse of the city slowly yawn and wake up. A typical Bhutanese morning would start before dawn; kids in uniform (gho’s and kira’s) heading to school, neighbours doing chores, pigeons being fed or monks chanting in the foreground. Bhutan lives within a culture centred on Buddhism, which fundamentally resides in accepting our suffering, and allowing ourselves to view and share our good self with others. Most of the Bhutanese have their lives revolved around Buddhism, resulting in a rare and beautiful sense of trust imbued within them. It is as if nothing was ever pen down black and white, all partnerships are established on a virtual hand shake. In a world that craves stability and security, this choice of trust doesn’t make much sense, yet you will come to discover just how this can reshape how our hearts touches the rest of what we encounter.
Nestled within the snow-hatted Himalayas between Tibet and India, the landscape of the fiercely guarded Kingdom of Bhutan wears its people’s spirituality on its sleeve. You don’t have to wander far to face with a structural reminder how this land has been knitted together with Buddhism. Catch prayer flags on remote mountain passes, to weathered Dzongs positioned at river confluences, to the seemingly awkward chorten in the middle of the road, each imprinting a part of its loving detail onto the spiritual harmony woven upon Bhutan. Amidst the rich cultural grandeur and rugged landscape, it is the last refuge for endangered species like the Black-Necked Crane, the Blue Sheep, the Golden Langur, and the Royal Bengal Tiger.
The Bhutanese are gifted at impactful yet subtly nuanced conversations, often you will never know what their good intentions are until it is done. Similarly, Bhutan is often described as magical and inaccessible. If you are an aspiring globetrotter determined to travel the world, or simply desire more to experience its spiritual outputs, or just someone who wants to know what lies behind the ‘Do Not Enter’ sign, step onto the soil of The Land of the Thunder Dragon, for it is fertile seed for those drawn into the vivacious unknown.