Bhutan is a perhaps the most mountainous country in the world. The kingdom of Bhutan is located in South Asia, wedged between the world’s two most populous nations, India and China. Cradled by the southern slopes of the eastern Himalayas this landlocked nation, about the size of Switzerland, is an ancient land of myths and legends where an age-old Himalayan Buddhist culture flourishes to this day.
With its natural environment pristine and protected Bhutan is a natural paradise set against awe-inspiring landscapes. Two-thirds of the land mass is covered by forests and more than 50 percent of the country is demarcated as protected areas and national parks.
Its southern borders begin where the great Indian plains start folding into small hills that gradually climb more than 7,000 meters to the snowy mountains peaks at its northern frontiers. Most of the population, around 700,000, resides in the temperate valleys where snow-fed rivers meander past terraced rice fields.
Within its pristine environment thrives an astounding diversity of flora and flora. The royal Bengal tiger, Blue sheep, the red panda and the elusive snow leopard are among the 200 mammals found in Bhutan.
The avian species that regard Bhutan as their home number more than 700 making this location of the best birding sites in the world. Some of the rare birds found in Bhutan include the critically endangered White Bellied Heron, Pallas Eagle and the Blacked Necked Crane that fly down from the Tibetan plateau in the winter months.
Bhutan A Buddhist Kingdom
Bhutan is predominantly a Buddhist kingdom and its more recent history begins with the arrival of the tantric saint, Guru Padmasambhava, in 746, who introduced the country to Buddhism.
In 1616, Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal arrived from Tibet and unified the country. He gave Bhutan its political and cultural identity as it is known today. In 1907, Bhutan became a monarchy after more than 200 years of civil strife following the death of its founder, Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal.
Bhutan entered the modern development process late. It was only in the 1960s that Bhutan opened up to planned modern development and began building its first roads, schools and hospitals.
The first official tourist arrived in 1974 and cable television in 1999. Today, clean green hydropower and tourism are the mainstay of the Bhutanese economy. Most places are connected by black-topped highways
One of the Bhutan’s biggest exports in recent years has been its development philosophy of gross national happiness (GNH), which essentially strives to create the conditions for its citizens to pursue happiness by looking beyond only material development. To create the conditions the philosophy rests on four pillars: good governance, sustainable development, preservation of the environment and preservation of culture.