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Bhutan is a paradisiacal realm of fertile valleys surrounded by pristine glittering snow peaks. For hundreds of years, Tibetan Buddhism has flourished amid these hills. Magnificent dzongs, or monasteries, attract pilgrims from throughout the region, and impress all visitors with their imposing glory. After years of isolation, this kingdom is now slowly opening its doors to a fortunate few.

Bhutan remained isolated from the rest of the world and no tourism existed until 1974 preserving the rich natural environment and lively Buddhist culture. Today Bhutan has become one of the most exotic destinations for many international travelers. Every traveler has a lot to anticipate as each minute is exciting to discover a kingdom with incredibly unique and treasured tradition, culture, religion and natural environment which Bhutanese people still strives to preserve in the face of modernity.

Bhutan is a unique blend of the old and new. Here is a country that is slowly opening up to the modern world in a fine balance with its ancient traditions. Those fortunate enough to visit Bhutan describe it as a unique, deeply spiritual and mystical experience. This kingdom is an adventure like no other.

PCTI invites you to experience the profound peace of these mountains, and the humor and hospitality of the people who call these lands home. Wake up to the sound of monks chanting. Walk through lush high valleys, where crystal clear rivers run through fragrant groves of pines. Springtime journeys are electrified with the riotous blooms of rhododendron forests.
Fasts & Figures

Land area: 38,394 square kilometres
Forest area: 72.5 %
Altitude: between 240metres and 7541metres above sea level
Inhabitants: 634,982
Language: official language “Dzongkha”, English widely spoken
Religion: Vajrayana stream of Mahayana Buddhism (Also known as Tantric Buddhism)
Currency: Ngultrum (equal to Indian Rupee)
Capital: Thimphu
National Tree: Cypress
National Bird: Raven
National Flower: Blue Poppy
National Sport: Archery
National Animal: Takin
Local time: Six hours ahead of GMT and half an hour ahead of Indian Standard Time
Interesting Facts

  • One of 43 landlocked countries in the world, Bhutan is about half the size of the state of Indiana.
  • The word “Bhutan” translates to “Land of the Thunder Dragon.” It earned the nickname because of the fierce storms that often roll in from the Himalayas.
  • Bhutan is the first country in the world with specific constitutional obligations on its people to protect the environment. Among its requirements: At least 60 percent of the nation must remain under forest cover at all times.
  • One-third of Bhutan’s population is under the age of 14; its median age is 22.3 years.
  • Thimpu is one of just two capital cities in Asia that does not have a single traffic light. (The other is Pyongyang, North Korea.) There was such public outcry when local officials installed a single signal that it was quickly removed, and a traffic officer was re-assigned to the intersection.
  • Bhutan is the only nation in the world where the sale of tobacco is banned.
  • At 24,840 feet, Gangkhar Puensum is the highest point in Bhutan – and the highest unclimbed mountain in the world.
  • Bhutanese manners dictate that you are to refuse food whenever it’s offered to you. The tradition is to say the words “meshu meshu” and cover your mouth with your hands. You can give in, though, after two or three offers.
  • Anyone found guilty of killing a highly endangered and culturally sacred black-necked crane could be sentenced to life in prison.
  • Bhutan is one of the last countries in the world to introduce television to its people. The government lifted a ban on TV – and on the Internet – only 11 years ago.
Quotes on Bhutan

HIS EMINENCE SOGYAL RINPOCHE, Buddhist spiritual master, philosopher and writer; Spiritual Director, Rigpa, London:
Nothing could be more striking than the pristine, haunting beauty of the landscape of Bhutan, or the atmosphere of peace and sacredness, which pervades the land from end to end. Bhutan is a place blessed with an almost magical power to transform the mind, whenever I am there I feel as if transported into a pure realm. For the Kingdom of Bhutan is truly unique: it is the only independent MahaYANA Buddhist country in the world. It has a great Buddhist heritage, stretching back uninterrupted over 1,300 years, and a legacy of more than 2, 000 temples, monasteries, dzongs and sacred sites. Many of the greatest Buddhist saints, like Guru Padmasambhava and the omniscient Gyalwa Longchenpa, have blessed this land, and holy places such as Paro Kyichu Lhakhang, Bumthang Jambay Lhakhang still retain their original form, dating back to the 7th century.

THE EARL OF RONALDSHAY, describing his arrival in 1921:
With our passage through the bridge, behold a curious transformation. For just as Alice, when she walked through the looking-glass, found herself in a new & whimsical world, so we, when we crossed the Pa-Chhu, found ourselves, as though caught up in some magic time machine fitted fantastically with a reverse, flung back across the centuries into the feudalism of a medieval age.

KARTIE HICKMAN, Author - Dreams of the PEACEFUL DRAGON, A Journey into Bhutan:
The world has few secrets left, but Bhutan is one of them. This is why I went there. Isolated from the outside for three centuries, this forbidden Kingdom in the Himalayas provides the setting for a bewitching adventure amongst widely varying peoples and terrain.

The Bhutanese have no desire for cultural assimilation. They are different and intend to remain so.

HARRY MARSHALL, Producer of the video tape "The Livin Edens: Bhutan:
If there is any country on Earth that qualifies as Eden - not just in part, but in it's entirety, I believe it is Bhutan.

There is no colonial history or architecture to get in the way of what is Bhutanese. They measure their journey in Dzongs. One way or other, change is coming. This is not Brigadoon.