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Bhutan, the land of the peaceful thunder dragon is known to the world by several names such as the ‘the Last Shangri-La’ or ‘the Last Place on the Roof of the World.’ Though the original name from the time of Marco Polo was ‘Bootan,’ the natives prefer to call their country ‘Druk Yul,’ or the Land of the Peaceful Thunder Dragon.
The Kingdom of Bhutan lies nestled in the folds of the mighty Himalayas. Its total population is two million people strong with a mix of Bhotes, ethnic Nepalis and indigenous or migrant tribes. The national language is Dzongkha, with Buddhism being the dominant religion, and some percentage of the population being Hindu. Monarchy, under the reign of King Jigme Singye Wangchuck exists in Bhutan and Thimpu is the capital city of this small and remote kingdom.
Bhutan followed an isolationist policy that discouraged visitors for the larger part of the twentieth century. It was only in the early 1970’s that it emerged from its cloak of secrecy and tourism began on a limited basis. The world then became aware of the enchanting land of Bhutan with its rare and striking scenic beauty. Bhutan has been blessed with verdant forests and arresting mountains that are home to a rich variety of flora and fauna. It is surrounded by a deep peaceful calm that is reflected in the simple lives of the Bhutanese people. It has also not been actively involved in the Industrial Age, the World Wars, the arms race, and until recently, not even cyberspace. A land with a vibrant and orthodox culture, Bhutan is often referred to as the ‘living museum’ of the world.