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Bhutan Travel Guides
Introduction   |   History   |   Religion   |   Architecture   |   Arts & Crafts   |   Festivals   |   Flora & Fauna   |   Trekking   |   Visiting Formalities

The Great Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan known locally as Druk-Yul or "Land of the Thunder Dragon", lies along the haughty ridges of the Eastern Himalayas, bordered by Tibet in the North and by India to the South, East and West.

Bhutan's scenery is magnificent. Its location in the mighty Himalayas has protected it from the rest of the world and left it blissfully untouched through the centuries. The Drukpa Kagyupa school of Mahayana Buddhism is prevalent and has left the country with a rich culture and a fascinating history. The Bhutanese people have protected this sacred heritage and unique identity for centuries by choosing to remain shrouded in a jealously guarded isolation.

Pristine surrounds, dramatic fort like monasteries hang over precipitous drops, often wreathed in mist, and fertile valleys, high rugged mountain passes - all of which make Bhutan a varied and exhilarating destination.

The cultural life in Bhutan is also rich - villagers assemble for vibrant local festivals in the dzong or monasteries and there is mask-dancing in the temples. Archery is Bhutan's national sport, and the gracious, gentle Bhutanese still wear traditional dress: elegant wraparound skirts or 'kira' for the women and checked, floor-length belted robes or 'Gho' for the men.

The kingdom is peopled sparsely, with four main linguistic groups constituting Bhutan's population: the Sharchopas, who are held to be indigenous inhabitants, the Bumthangpas and the Ngalongpas who originate in neighboring Tibet, and the Lhotshampas, recent immigrants of Nepalese origin.

Opened for tourism in 1974, after the coronation of the fourth King, His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck, Bhutan is perhaps the world's most exclusive tourist destination. The country still retains all the charm of the old world, and travelers experience the full glory of this ancient land as embodied in the monastic fortresses, ancient temples which dot the countryside, prayer flags fluttering above farmhouses and on the hillsides, lush forests, rushing glacial rivers, and - perhaps most important of all - the warm smiles and genuine friendliness of the people. Each moment is special as one discovers a country, which its people have chosen to preserve in all its magical purity.

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