Bhutan: A Higher State of Being
This is a country where the rice is red
- where chillies aren't just a seasoning but the main dish
- where the capital of the country has no traffic lights
- where carbon is absorbed more than it emits and claims to be the only carbon negative country on this planet
- where the birth of its Prince is celebrated by planting 108,000 trees
- where the economic index GDP is measured in “Happiness”
- where no cars are in a tearing hurry to overtake or into mindless honking
This tiny landlocked Buddhist nation of 700,000 people is sandwiched between the twin giants of India and China - offers a generous serving of beauty, nature and happiness and a window to its rich culture through architecture: colourful wooden windows, intricate work on roof railings and paintings of tigers, snakes and dragons on the walls of most homes and government buildings.
In the vertiginous mountains of Bhutan, where happiness is akin to holiness, travelers get to delve into an incredible panoply of deities, mythical beings, and symbolism. Shrouded in mystery and magic, Bhutan’s traditional Buddhist culture carefully embraces global developments.
Behind the whitewashed walls of every Tibetan Buddhist monastery lurks a hidden world of golden sculptures and rainbow-coloured murals. These radiant artworks were clearly not inspired by the gray and ochre color scheme of the Himalayan landscape; Tibetan Buddhist art is, at its purest level, an art of the imagination. With 95 percent of the population favoring the traditional dress - the knee-length wraparound gho for men, who pair it with knee-length socks, and Kira, the ankle-length dress for women, they imbibe Bhutan's traditional code of etiquette
One apt example is exchanging pleasantries saying "Kuzuzangpo" (hello) and not "hello" "hi" or "what's up". Even though English is the main medium of communication in schools, outside the educational gates they again wear the coat of tradition.
At this time and age when tourism most often dictates national economics, travel to Bhutan is a refreshing experience. Here, a deeply ingrained sense of hospitality, a universally acknowledged ecosystem and a living culture ensures every traveler the best that any nation has on offer.
Here is a place where modernisation is still protected by traditional values. The red chilies are dried on the wooden roof, giant protective penises are painted beside the entrance to many houses, where animals and people shares a common roof. Yet while it visibly protects its Buddhist traditions, Bhutan is not a museum. You will find the Bhutanese well educated, fun loving and well informed about the world around them. It's this blending of the ancient and modern that makes Bhutan endlessly fascinating.
It is a place where a smile is common; where people does not hesitate to invite a foreigners for a supper and where humanity is valued more than money. Like a Bhutanese local says, In our most beautiful places, we build temples and monasteries, and everybody goes there. In your most beautiful places, you build five-star resorts, and only the very rich go there.” With that attitude it's no surprise Bhutan's one of the happiest nations in the world!