Cradled by the majestic Himalayas in a remote corner of Southern Asia, the “Land of the Thunder Dragon” has long held steadfast to its rich culture and Buddhist heritage. Though an isolated locale and high tourist entry tariffs (of up to $200 per person per night) keep crowds at bay, these factors have also permitted this last Shangri-La to keep its traditions intact. And, while the Kingdom of Bhutan is charging ahead into the 21st century (thanks largely to the advent of hydroelectric power), they consider happiness a better gauge of accomplishment, with a nationwide poll in 2002 reporting only 3 percent of the population feeling down. If the lush valleys and snowcapped mountains, ancient temples and monasteries, and expansive markets full of cheerful locals haven’t lured you to Bhutan yet, reconsider in 2008, when the 101st anniversary of the country’s monarchy will be commemorated by a year-long celebration.
If that's not enough to tempt you to pay a visit, here are some gorgeous pictures of Bhutan from the archives of National Geographic magazine.
Second, Bhutan is gearing up for the election of the upper house after declaring a move towards democracy from the century-long absolute monarchy. Last year, King Jigme Sigme Wangchuk decided to hand power to an elected government, shortly before he passed his throne to his Oxford-educated son Jigme Khesar Namgyal.
This news comes on the heels of the news from Nepal that the world's only Hindu kingdom is on its way to abolishing its monarchy.
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Earlier on SAJAforum: