The Land of Happiness

The Land of Happiness

A country shrouded in mystery and a recondite region which has long had a reputation as being veiled from the rest of the world, Bhutan is rated by Business Week as the happiest country in Asia and the eighth-happiest in the world.

Located on the southern slopes of the Eastern Himalayas, this tiny empire is nestled between China and India. Interestingly, it is one of only 43 landlocked countries in the world.

A predominantly Buddhist country, Bhutan fiercely protects its right to remain orthodox and traditional in almost every way imaginable. Remarkably, television and internet were banned until 1999 and the distractions of modern life which are known to most of us have been completely bypassed here. Perhaps then, this is why Bhutan has been given the envious title of ‘happiest’ country in Asia. It may even be possible that this country has been untouched by Pharrell Williams!

“Land of the Thunder Dragon” is the literal translation for this intriguing locale – named because of the fierce storms that roll in from the Himalayas. Thimphu, Bhutan’s capital, is located in the Western part of the country and is as famous for not having traffic lights as it is for its annual 4-day festival. The ‘Tsechun’ festival showcases masked dancers who perform in the many courtyards scattered around the city. This festival is not to be missed by those harbouring an interest for Bhutanese dances and performances. Watch stories weaved in between the lines and colours unfolded as masked dancers make their way amidst wandering onlookers.

The best time of the year to visit is during autumn; optimum trekking can be experienced in October and the festivals usually take place in September and October. A visit to Bhutan would not be complete without visiting one of the many incredible ‘Dzong’ monasteries and sampling the national dish, ‘Ema Datsi’, a fiery and distinctive chilli cheese which you will either love or hate!



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