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Category: Bhutan

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7 reasons to go on ‘Druk Path Trek with Cultural Tour’

Rich cultural history and stunning landscape

This last Shangri-La on earth is a sacred land with deeply spiritual people. You witness the sheer cultural and natural brilliance of this country as you submerge in the rich culture, ancient history, century old traditions warily and diverse natural landscape warily secured within this mystical kingdom. This trip not only takes you through a spiritual journey but also allows you to delve in unparalleled natural marvels which include blue pine forests, high ridges, black mountain ranges and pristine lakes.

Surreal monasteries

Standing tall at 3,180 meters, Taktsang monastery is precariously perched atop a cliff face which gives it a surreal look. Surrounded by breathtaking panoramas, you can feel peace and tranquility enclosing you as you ascend the glorious Taktsang monastery, popularly known as the ‘Tiger’s Nest’. You also visit Druk Wangyal Monastery which is popular for its elaborate paintings depicting the lineage of the present monarchy and their visionary works.

Druk Path Trek

Known as Bhutan’s finest short trek route, this scenic trek across the mountains separating Paro and Thimphu passes through blue-pine forests, alpine lake, and dwarf rhododendrons forests. While at the same time, the trek offers the opportunity to visit some of the ancient lhakhangs (temples), dzongs (fortresses) and villages.

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Bhutan: A Spiritual Odyssey

Bhutan

For those who wish to embark on a spiritual journey and long for a soul-cleansing experience, Bhutan is your ideal refuge. This last Shangri-La on earth is a sacred land with deeply spiritual people. You witness the sheer cultural brilliance of this country as you submerge in the rich culture, ancient history, exquisite heritage and century old traditions warily secured within this mystical kingdom. The fascinating Himalayan kingdom boasts of a rich and thriving culture, unique art and architecture and above all, the warm and happy Bhutanese people who will make your Bhutan experience unforgettable.

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Explore the Land of the Thunder Dragon

The kingdom of Bhutan perches high on the lofty ridges of the eastern Himalayans, choosing to remain a hidden paradise, accessible only to a fortunate few. The hermit kingdom has preserved its rich cultural identity throughout years of isolation. It is a country with a strong ancient Buddhist culture which was almost completely cut off for centuries safeguarding its historic culture and tradition. Bhutan is home to more than 10,000 stupas or chortens and more than 2,000 sacred monasteries that were built centuries ago in honor of the Buddhist teachings. Druk Yul or the ‘Land of Thunder Dragon’, the country as called by Bhutanese is a land replete with myths and legends. It is a place that can remind us of the true meaning of cultural authenticity.

Bhutan

Bhutan is equally marked by raw natural beauty renowned for complex gorges and valleys, soaring snow-peaked mountains and steep slopes, humid jungles and foothills, magnificent lakes, waterfalls, fast flowing rivers and streams and the richest biodiversity of flora and fauna. This pristine environment is home to exotic wild life and is a last refuge for endangered species like the Black-Necked Crane, the Blue Sheep, the Golden Langur, even the Royal Bengal Tiger. This kingdom, often referred to as the last Shangri-la, is a land of spiritual people, remarkable scenery, natural wonders, and a proud and vibrant culture. Bhutan’s strategy of “low volume, high quality” tourism has made it a highly regarded destination among discerning travelers. Himalayan Glacier gives you the best of Bhutan allowing you to submerge within the scenic natural landscape, rich culture, ancient history, exquisite heritage and traditions warily secured within this mystical kingdom.

For a soul-cleansing experience on the last Shangri-La on earth, please refer to the following link:

http://www.himalayanglacier.com/trips/asia/bhutan

The Bhutan Trips: 2014

Behold the glory of admiring Himalayas, timeless cultures, diverse flora and fauna scattered throughout Bhutan. Step into the world of true spirit of Bhutanese culture and countryside. Wedged between two Asian giants – India and China, Bhutan is blessed by nature with a diverse topography and rich culture in the Himalayas. Bhutanese call their country the Druk Yul and follow their own trademark of Mahayana Buddhism with exotic monasteries and lifestyle. Join with us throughout 2014 to explore the hidden treasures of Bhutan. Our trips in Bhutan explore the famous cultural routes to off-the-beaten trails that traverse through remote Bhutanese Himalayas.

Bhutan
Bhutan
  • Bhutan Insight tour, one of the best escapes in the Himalayas, gives you cultural and natural exposure to Bhutan’s rugged terrain and steep mountain valleys. You travel around the monasteries, dzongs, temples, chortens and museums of Bhutan during this tour. Besides observing the unique Bhutanese culture, you will also experience the various breathtaking views of Himalayas. The Paro Valley, capital Thimphu and the central Bhutan are the major attractions of this trip. To the most the trip hikes to Taktsang Monastery – Bhutan’s most famous monastery situated at a height of above 3120 m. Similarly, strolling through the traditional market places, observing Bhutanese handicrafts and household items, discovering unique religious festivals and gaining firsthand experience of proud Bhutanese people enhance you to intermingle with nature, religion, language and culture of Bhutan.
  • Bhutan Tour with Paro Festival and Hikes, the top trip of Bhutan for festive experience, combines Bhutan’s cultural and natural grandeur. The trip commencing from the scenic Paro Valley covers numerous cultural rich towns of Bhutan and some of them are Punakha, Gangtey, and Thimphu.  To the most the trip takes you to the site of Tiger’s Nest Monastery-Bhutan’s most famous monastery situated at 3120 m. Then the Paro Festival is one of the major highlights of this tour. During the journey, you enjoy breath-taking view of the Mount Everest, Kanchenjunga and other famous Himalayan peaks including the sacred Jumolhari and Mount Jichu Drake in Bhutan.
  • Bhutan Cultural Tour, an excellent escape for capturing the real color of Bhutan, introduces you to the imposing Dzongs, or temple fortresses, that are intrinsic to Bhutanese cultural way of life. You begin this cultural tour from undoubtedly the most beautiful valley in Bhutan, Paro. The masterpieces of Paro like Tiger’s Nest Monastery, 8th century Kichu Monastery, and the national museum will be the prime attractions of this tour. In addition to this, following north along the Thimphu river, you will arrive Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan which is a assortment of traditional and modern culture. After making excursion of Thimphu, you drive to Punakha valley across picturesque Dochula Pass (3150m) for great views of Himalayan ranges. Beyond exploring Punakha valley, you walk for the Dzong- the famous fertility temple in the region.
  • Glimpses of Bhutan Tour encompasses the western Bhutan’s ‘must see’ highlights. The state of Bhutan offers a mesmerizing and unspoiled cultural and natural grandeur. The tour begins in the scenic Paro Valley with a hike to the famous Tiger`s Nest monastery. After visiting Thimphu, a unique capital city that has a blend of traditional and modern touch, you drive across the picturesque Dochu La Pass into the subtropical valleys of Punakha and Wangdue. You too visit around the ancient capital of Bhutan, a medieval Dzong of Wangdue and return to Paro. During the journey, you experience breath-taking view of Mount Everest, Kanchenjunga and other famous Himalayan peaks including the sacred Jumolhari and Mount Jichu Drake in Bhutan.
  • Bhutan Tour with Trekking includes cultural tours to important Bhutan towns, day hikes to the monasteries and trekking along a soothingly calm Himalayan trail. The tour begins in the scenic Paro Valley with a hike to the famous Taktsang monastery. Then, you trek for the next few days. After visiting Thimphu, a unique capital city that has a blend of traditional and modern touch, you drive across the picturesque Dochu La Pass into the subtropical valleys of Punakha.  En route you can relish the startling views of Jichu Drake (6,989m) and Tshrim Khang (6,789m), among others. Throughout this trip you can traverse through rugged mountain terrains and also make a journey into the mystical Buddhist cultural towns.
  • Bhutan Tour, one of the top trips of Bhutan, is a special tour to the living masterpiece of ecological conservation of the world today in which you will be introduced to the mystical and unspoiled cultural and natural grandeur of Bhutan. Filled with rugged terrain and steep mountain valleys from subtropical plains in the south through temperate zone to the sub-alpine Himalayas exceeding 7,000 meters, Bhutan is sandwiched between Tibet and India. Along with exploring the rich coniferous forests, glacial lakes, beautiful passes, and amazing views of snow-capped mountains, this tour traverses through various Dzongs, monastic sites and religious landmarks of Bhutan.

10 things you didn’t know about Bhutan

Bhutan’s king has married his commoner bride in a colourful ceremony in the tiny Himalayan country. Here are 10 unusual facts about the nation:

  1. Bhutan is the happiest country in Asia, and the eighth in the world, despite widespread poverty and illiteracy. A survey pointed to the landlocked Himalayan kingdom’s beautiful mountain scenery, isolated culture and strong sense of national identity as reasons for the contentment of its citizens.

  2. The national identity was strictly and sometimes brutally enforced by the country’s ruling monarchy by banning foreign tourism, expelling thousands of ethnic Nepalese and Gurkhas, and by forcing its people to wear national costume – a tartan judo-style jacket known as Driglam Namzha – during daylight hours.

  3. Television was banned until 1999, when King Jigme Singye Wangchuck decided it would help to modernize his isolated kingdom.

  4. King Jigme Singye Wangchuck had a democratic epiphany in the late 1990s, introduced a new constitution in 2005 and abdicated in favour of his young son, today’s royal groom, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, in 2008.

  5. The former King’s greatest legacy was his concept of the ‘Gross National Happiness’ to measure of a nation’s wellbeing as an alternative to the Gross National Product. Bhutan is rated as far more ‘happy’ on a range of indicators than its powerful and wealthy neighbour India, which is ranked as only the 125th happiest country ion the world. The idea has inspired similar approaches in France and by David Cameron in Britain.

  6. The nation’s strong sense of identity grew in high altitude isolation and amid fear of invasion by Tibetan armies or colonization by Britain.

  7. Bhutan was unified under Tibetan warlord and lama Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal who fled Tibet in the 17th century and built the country’s famous Dzong fortresses to defend against foreign invaders.

  8. The country was never colonised by Britain but its forces were defeated in North Bengal and Bhutan was forced to sign a treaty which gave Britain control of its foreign relations. India inherited that power when it became independent in 1947 and remains a powerful influence over the country.

  9. Bhutan is overwhelmingly Buddhist, with a large Hindu minority, but remains deeply superstitious. Traditional homes have carved wooden erect phalluses protruding from the main door lintels to ward off evil spirits.

  10. Bhutan’s national sport is a form of archery in which rival teams face each other across a field, and fire sharp arrows at one another, while each team waves its arms to distract their opponents. Players battle it out wearing national costume.

  11. source: The Telegraph, 13 OCT 2011

Bhutan looks to become world’s first 100% organic country

Bhutan is renowned for espousing Gross National Happiness but now the isolated Himalayan nation is also looking to become known as a world leader in organic farming.  “We are nearly all Buddhists. Being kind to the environment and the planet has a central meaning for us,” says Kesang Tshomo, co-ordinator of the Ministry of Agriculture’s national organic programme.
Pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilisers have found little acceptance among Bhutan’s population and have only been used on around 1.5% of the country’s agricultural land.

Soon it is hoped this figure will drop to zero, allowing Bhutan to be recognised as the first country to be 100% organic. “We had this idea several years ago: the air was clean, the soil uncontaminated and the rivers were not yet polluted,” explains Kesang Tshome. “It would be a real pity if we did not keep things this way.”

The small country of approximately 700,000 inhabitants located between China and India was virtually closed off to the outside world until the 1960s but has begun opening up in recent decades.

Television and Internet were made available to its citizens in 1999 while Bhutan has been ruled by a democratic government since 2008. The unusual approach to economic development, centred on protecting the environment, was made public six years ago but there is still no set time-frame in place.

“We might achieve it by 2020,” says Kesang Tshomo.

“We would love to be a fully organic country tomorrow but we have to be practical and consider the realities facing farmers.” Chencho Dorji from the village of Khariphu, which is a two-hour walk to the nearest road, is one of Bhutan’s farmers and faces many of the problems that are preventing a speedy implementation of the project.

“Life is difficult for us in the valley because the slopes are so steep and fields so small,” explains the 27-year-old. Like most farmers in the country, Chencho Dorji uses oxen as an investment in agricultural machinery is not economically viable.
Around 70% of Bhutan’s people make a living from agriculture but many still have to buy wheat and vegetables. The population is growing rapidly while large numbers are migrating to urban centres in search of work.

Over half of the country’s rice is now imported from neighbouring India. “We are going to have to increase productivity along with the switch to organic farming. This is the greatest challenge,” admits Kesang Tshomo.

Farmers are learning different composting methods as well as how to handle farm manure correctly so that nutrients are not lost through evaporation and leaks.  “We are also making an extract from chillies, garlic, onions and pepper that can drive off pests,” says Thinlay, who works in the area of plant protection for the Ministry of Agriculture.

Products such as neem oil protect against insects while if there is a snake plague the creatures are trapped, thrown in a hole and sprinkled with salt. “This way, they dehydrate and die,” explains Thinlay.

Farmer Lotto Zam would love to grow all her crops organically but the 45-year-old believes that sometimes it is impossible to get by without the use of pesticides, citing the example of the spread of the army worm through the rice crops in her valley.
“We had no other choice. We had to buy pesticide sprays from the government,” Lotto Zam explains as she sits in front of her market stall in the village of Shaba selling organic peaches, tomatoes, green beans, potatoes, chillies, peas, garlic and cucumbers.

Pesticides are not manufactured in Bhutan and are imported by the Ministry of Agriculture. They can only be sourced through official outlets.“We only give out herbicides and insecticides in emergency situations and not on a routine basis,” says Thinlay.

This type of policy is only possible because for decades Bhutan has put the population’s “gross national happiness” above economic growth by looking at the spiritual, physical, social and environmental health of its citizens and natural environment. As part of Bhutan’s environmental protection measures, the country is constitutionally bound to ensure at least 60% of Bhutan remains forested. The figure currently stands at 72%.

Bhutan has also set itself the target of remaining carbon neutral and is currently actually carbon negative. “The next logical step was obviously to promote organic agriculture,” says Peldon Tshering, chief strategist of Bhutan’s environmental commission.

Kesang Tshomo believes Bhutan has to prioritise the export of niche products. Due to the lack of mechanisation in agriculture and the small size of fields, which are for the most part tended by independent farmers, only small amounts can be produced. “Ginger powder, herbal teas or homemade soaps made from mustard oil are examples of some the products we could export,” she says.

Source & References

Fiedler, D. 2013. Bhutan looks to become world’s first 100% organic country. GULF TIMES, 09th September.