Hidden away in the Himalayas Bhutan and its people have largely lived a life of isolation from the rest of the world. The Bhutanese have succeeded in maintaining their cultural and spiritual heritage and belief that they live in the last true Shangri-La in the Himalayas. Unlike Nepal they have sought to keep their identity and way of life intact by strictly limiting the number of tourists to the Kingdom to a maximum of 5000 a year.
Western values have little or no impact in this land of culture and extreme charm which exudes a special feeling of serenity. The people are intensely religious, much in evidence here, even in urban centres the spinning of prayer wheels the murmur of mantras and the glow of butter lamps are still important features of daily life. Monasteries temples and religious monuments are dotted across the landscape bearing witness to the importance of Buddhism, while red robed monks, young and old are everywhere mingling freely in towns and village markets.
Bhutan boasts a wealth of Bio Diversity with almost three quarters of its land area covered by forests, it has been declared amongst the ten most prominent areas for environmental protection in the world. Its rich Himalayan flora and fauna, dazzling snow capped peaks, lush valleys and unbelievably beautiful rural landscapes will leave all but the very hardened asking the question and thinking if there is a heaven on Earth? The Land of the Thunder Dragon it probably is.
Many eastern classics and books of wisdom have referred to the Himalayas as the abode of the gods and home to the immortals. These descriptions did not stem merely from the majesty and grandeur of the natural surroundings but perhaps alluded to a special environment where communion with the divine was possible through contemplation and meditation. And so since time immemorial, ascetics, scholars, philosophers and pilgrims have been drawn irresistibly to these remote and rugged mountains in their personal search for wisdom, inspiration, solitude and happiness.
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