Druk Yul, land of the Thunder Dragon, as Bhutan is known, is regarded as the last paradise on earth. The kingdom is flanked on the north and north-west by Tibet, the plains of north-east India to the south and south-west and the hills India’s north-eastern state of Aruna Chal Pradesh to the east. This Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan is fast emerging from centuries of self-imposed isolation. First opened in a very regulated manner to tourists in 1974 on the auspicious occasion of coronation of Bhutan’s present king, this mountain kingdom is still perhaps the world’s most exclusive tourist destination.
This fabulous Himalayan kingdom is jeweled with pain shrines, forts, hamlets, Buddhist monastery and picturesque valleys of the eternal highlands.
In addition, the country has become a paradise for trekkers and mountaineers. In the dense jungles of south and the coniferous forests of the north roam wide elephant, tigers, Himalayan bears, musk deer, blue mountain sheep and the rare clouded leopards on the verge of extinction. Birds and butterflies abound in trees, festooned with orchids trailing moss.
Bhutan at a glance
Location: Southern Asia, between China and India
Area: 47,000 sq km
Climate: Tropical in southern plains; cool winters and hot summers in central valleys; severe winters and cool summers in Himalayas
Terrain: Mostly mountainous with some fertile valleys
Religions: Lamaistic Buddhism 75%, Indian- and Nepalese-influenced Hinduism 25%
Languages: Dzongkha (official), Bhotes speak various Tibetan dialects, Nepalese speak Nepalese dialects