Long regarded as the forbidden land, Bhutan or Druk Yul – The land of Thunder Dragon, was virtually closed to the outside world until the 1960s. Even today, little is know about this remote Himalayan Buddhist kingdom nestled between two giant neighbors, India and China. Often described as the Last Shangri la, Bhutan is still a country of pristine forests, alpine valleys and glacier lakes, rich in rare flora and fauna such as blue poppy, the golden languor and the red panda. As spectacular as its natural beauty are the architecture of its towering dzongs (fortresses) and the art treasures that fill its monasteries and temples.
Bhutan is like no other place in the world. It has uniquely beautiful architecture, living spiritual culture, stunning natural beauty and unspoiled environment. It has the forest cover of well over 70 %. Its mountain peaks are never conquered by the humans (it is our belief that the mountain peaks are the abbot of our protecting deities and therefore it has to remain chaste and pristine).
Lately Bhutan has made headlines in international arena for its unique development philosophy. The wise and farsighted King of Bhutan has introduced this philosophy of gross national happiness. According to this philosophy, the progress and development is measured in terms of the Gross National Happiness (GNH) rather than the gross domestic product (GDP).
Bhutan was forbidden land until the building of roads in 1960s. It was a geographical reality since it was a landlocked country surrounded by mighty mountain peaks in the north and dense malaria infested forest in the south. With the roads connected to all its major settlements and Indian border, with one international airport (built in 1983), today Bhutan has slowly opened its door to the outside world. However, Bhutanese approach to tourism is a sensitive one. It wants what is called a sustainable approach towards tourism (something like Buddha’s middle path). While the tourism brings wealth to Bhutan, it is also aware of the possible negative impacts it would bring to the culture and pristine environment.