cultureCulture is the soul of a nation and the depth of the Bhutanese soul is epitomized in the series of Bhutanese cultural traits, which have defied the belief that development leads to cultural erosion. And it is not just rural Bhutan where the mystical and mesmerising Bhutanese culture is visible in all walks of life, but also in urban centres such as Bhutan’s capital city, Thimphu.

From festivals to art and architecture, Bhutan has managed to save what most countries lost. The country still retains all the charm of the old world, and travellers experience the full glory of this ancient land as embodied in the monastic fortresses, ancient temples, monasteries and chortens which dot the countryside, prayer flags

fluttering above farmhouses and on the hillsides, lush forests, rushing glacial rivers, and – perhaps most important of all – the warm smiles and genuine friendliness of the people.

One would be startled seeing some of Bhutan’s icons, such as the Paro Taktsang (Tiger’s Lair) monastery, which stands perched on a ravine about 1000 m, overlooking the valley. The other is Punakha Dzong (Fortress), which from far looks like a gigantic ship on a mass of still water. The 17th century Fortress has been built at the confluence of two rivers, Mo and Pho Chhus, literally meaning the female and male rivers.

There are several embodiments of Bhutanese culture one will see. And it is not just the older generation who practice and keep the flame burning. Even the most qualified Bhutanese, who would have spent more than a decade in the west pursuing his/her studies, do not forget to visit a monastery and offer prayers, when they reach home.

These are small but precious elements, which probably makes the Himalayan country unique. Discover the beauty; visit Bhutan.

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