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Destinations Asia Bhutan

Bhutan Holidays & Tours

Known by the Bhutanese as Druk Yul, ‘Land of the Thunder Dragon’, Bhutan is an ethereal Himalayan Kingdom steeped in ancient mysticism and remote mountain vistas. Vajrayana is the state religion, also known as Tantric Buddhism, an ancient science of consciousness brought to Bhutan by the wandering guru, Rinpoche. Today, mist-swathed temples, monasteries, stupas, and colourful prayer flags punctuate the Bhutanese landscape, echoing its neighbour, Tibet. Bhutan remains largely unexplored due to the high cost of visas and daily tariffs, an estimated US$250 per day.

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Historically, until the 17th century, Bhutan was a feudal society, largely fragmented across the disparate mountains and valleys. A Lama and military leader, Ngawang Namgyal, brought unity to the kingdom whilst fleeing the Gelugpa sect led by the Dalai Lama in Lhasa. His legacies include a network of elaborate fortresses called dzong, which are still used for religious and administrative purposes today. Elsewhere, life continues to revolve around agrarian pursuits, especially animal husbandry. Traditional dress continues to be widely worn, including knee-length robes called gho for men, and ankle-length dresses called kira for women. Festivals tied to the moon, the monsoon season, or the whims of deities continue to play a major role in cultural life.

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