Trekking in Bhutan
Punakha Festival Tour
Your senses will awake upon entering the impressive courtyard of the Punakha Dzong; " Palace of Great Happiness ". The Dzong lies between two rivers, the Pochu and Mochu, male and female rivers. Read More »
Bhutan Bird watching
Birds in Bhutan can be found from the glacial alpine regions of the north to the sweltering tropics of the south.
Read More »
The history of Bhutan can be divided into ancient history which dates back to the Stone Age until the coming of Guru Rinpochhe to Bhutan in 746AD. The medieval period is the period between the coming of guru Rinpochhe to Bhutan and the period till the coming of Zhabdrung to Bhutan in 1616AD and the unification of the country under single authority.
With the coming of Buddhism in Bhutan in eight century, Guru Rinpochhe, the precious Indian saint was the one who brought the teaching in the Himalayan Bhutan. Guru Rinpochhe first traveled to Bhutan in 746 A.D to cure the king of Bumthang and later in 10 century Guru visited Bhutan on the back of female tiger from Tibet.
The evidence like the existence of Kichu monastery and Jambay Lhakhang proves that the Buddhism was flourishing in Bhutan prior to the arrival of Guru Rinpochhe.
Another important chapter in the history of Bhutan evolved in the first half of the 13th century when the spiritual master, Phajo Drugom Zhingpo arrived, the precursor of the Drukpa Kagyu tradition of Mahayana Buddhism which ultimately gained pre-eminence in the country. Many saints and religious figures, over the years, helped shape Bhutan's history and develop its religion of which the Tertons (Treasure discoverers) played an important role who were pre-destined to unearth the ters (relics) hidden for posterity by Guru Rimpoche and other saints. Among the Tertons, Pema Lingpa, born in the Tang valley of Bumthang (central Bhutan), occupies the most important place in the Bhutanese history. His discovery of ters from a lake called Mebartsho (The Burning Lake) in Bumthang is the most famous event. He not only discovered religious texts and arte-facts but also composed dances and created arts which have become one of the most important constituents of the cultural heritage of Bhutan.
With the arrival of Shabdrung Rimpochey (the precious jewel at whose feet one submits) opened the most dynamic era in the history of Bhutan. The religious and secular powers were not clearly delineated until the 17 Century when Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the great leader of the Drukpa school of Mahayana Buddhism, established the dual system of government--the temporal and theocratic--with Je Khenpo (chief abbot) as the religious head and the temporal leader known as the Desi. He was not only a great spiritual personality and a statesman but also left his indelible legacy as a great architect and a builder. The Shabdrung constructed numerous Dzongs, monasteries, and religious institutions bringing people from all walks of life under one faith and firmly instituted Drukpa Kagyu as the state religion.
Bhutan emerged out of its self-imposed isolationism in 1960, when the first five-year development plan was introduced, with emphasis on development of telecommunications, hydro-power plants, and setting up free healthcare and schools and other institutions of learning. The country has just launched the 10th five-year plan (2008). The first democratically elected government is in the saddle, under the benevolent guidance of the fifth Druk Gyalpo, King Jigme Khesar.
Tourism, as an industry was started only after June, 1974, at the time of the coronation of the fourth Durk Gyalpo, King Jigme Singye Wangchuck. The emphasis then was ‘high quality, low volume’. However the number of tourists since then has been steadily rising.
Television, along with Internet, was introduced almost 80 years after it was first broadcast in the United States, in 1999 during the Silver Jubilee celebrations marking the 25th year of King Jigme Singye’s rule. All the amenities, available in any other developing countries, are available.
Bhutan has come a long way, though, since the opening of its borders, yet it is as steeped in its rich culture and tradition as in the past. For, culture and tradition and religion are a way of life for the Bhutanese.
It is this way of life, or rather philosophy, which enables them to welcome foreigners, not as camera-toting tourists, but honored guests, making your trip to Druk Yul a memorable experience rather than just a vacation to some far away place.