Bhutan, also known as land of the thunder dragon, is a Himalayan kingdom situated between India and Tibet (China) and east from Nepal. It is the ancient Buddhist kingdom culturally rich and intertwined with age-old traditions and art. Isolated for centuries, Bhutan opened its doors to foreigners for the first time in 1974 in an effort to generate foreign exchange earnings, promote the kingdom’s unique culture and traditions to the outside world and develop the country’s socio-economic sector. Visit to monasteries, feudal forts, pilgrimage sites, ancient Tibetan-style temples and attending spectacular festivals in Bhutan feels like travel into the medieval past. If Shangri-La exists somewhere, it is only in Bhutan you can expect. People walk along Thimphu’s quiet streets clad in traditional robes and knee-length argyle socks. Some middle-aged and old people busy in a hand held prayer wheel chanting the mantras ‘Om Mani Padme Hum‘ and others spin Prayer Wheels in the courtyard of Buddhist monasteries. Old people are often seen at the Memorial Chorten circumambulating with a string of beads in hand. Every nook and corner monasteries, temples and religious monuments are dotted, bearing witness to the importance of Buddhism.
The most popular touristic city is Thimphu, the country’s capital and Paro, an enchanting town in the western part, Taktshang, a cliff side monastery (also known as the “Tiger’s Nest” in English) overlooking the Paro Valley, is also another the major attraction Bhutan’s major attractions in tourism are its traditional culture and value, traditional lifestyle, religious festivals, historic fortress and its unspoiled natural environment. Gross National Happiness is recently introduced national development policy based on Buddhist philosophy that guidelines the quality of life based on the spiritual and mental well-being of its people. However, the Royal government’s adopted method of measuring development – GDP cannot be ignored. Gross National Happiness is pursued as an alternative development philosophy in parallel to GDP.