A land shrouded in mystery and majestic natural beauty, Bhutan or ‘Dragon Kingdom’ is the last great Himalayan kingdom. The landlocked country is the first to introduce the concept of national happiness index, and is the only nation in the world to carry the tag of being carbon negative. Discover the beautiful country that the rest of world is yet to explore.
The country, with an area of just over 46,500 square kilometers, is home to the world-famous Tiger’s nest monastery. Originally built in the 17th century, the monastery is a 900-meter trek by foot located in the cliff side of the upper Paro valley. For those interested in the evolution of Buddhism in Bhutan can visit Kurjey Lhakhang monastery. It is considered as a milestone location where Guru Rimpoche is believed to have meditated in the 8th century.
To get an insight into the cultural festivals of Bhutan, tourists visit Punakha Dzong to attend the Punakha festival, which is held in February or March. Thimpu is the capital city of Bhutan with many museums, local markets, and landmark locations. It is easy to spot people dressed in colorful traditional clothes walking alongside modern day attires. Other key tourist locations in Bhutan include deer park, gardens of the Trashi Chhoe Dzong, and the Druk Wangyal Chortens and Temple at Dochula Pass; located at 3100 meters, they are among the most scenic places in Bhutan.
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Bhutan has largely remained isolated from the rest of world until recently. As a result, its rich cultural heritage is well preserved and intact. Its culture is largely influenced by the Buddhist way of living and teachings of the Lord Buddha.
Buddhist way of life is an integral part of being a Bhutanese as reflected by many of Bhutan’s monasteries, religious centers, stupas, and prayer flags that can be seen all around. Its thousands of years old traditions still run deep in the way people live. From people wearing traditional garments that look like a kimono to living a life in complete isolation in hamlets, Bhutan holds its traditions to this day.
Soups and stews of rice, lentils, chicken, yak meat, pork, dried beef and vegetables are widely consumed, especially during winters. A form of Bhutanese dumpling called momo is also quite popular. The use of red rice – which is the only variety of rice that can be grown at high altitudes – is also prevalent. Indian, Chinese, Tibetan, and Nepalese cuisines are easy to find in the Dragon Kingdom.
Best time to visit: A good time to visit the kingdom is during autumn between September and December. This is the time when many of Bhutan’s biggest festivals take place. Nature lovers should consider visiting the country in April and May when the sky is clear, sunny, and the local flora is in full vigor. Read More