Bhutan is a landlocked mountain kingdom, roughly the size of Switzerland, in the eastern
Himalayas. The modern name of the country is derived from the Sanskrit word Bhu-Uttan
(High Land). The Bhutanese, however, have always known it as Druk Yul.
Bhutan has a rich, distinctive and ancient Buddhist culture, which defines and inspires every facet of the life and art of the Bhutanese people. The Drukpa Kagyud has flourished pure and uninterrupted presenting the modern traveler a window to another world.
The most spectacular expression of the Thunder Dragon Kingdoms religion are the annual
festivals known as Tshechu, staged in every district at different times of the year.
The "Tshechus give the visitor opportunity to see the fantastic mask dancers and religious art of
Bhutan, particularly the amazing giant Thangkas (Tantric Buddhist religious scrolls) unfurled at the
Paro and Wangdue Tshechus. Another religious art form which has flowered with great sophistication in Bhutan is the mystic Mandalas.
The majestic grandeur, symmetry and harmony of Bhutans traditional architecture is best expressed in the impressive dzongs,
the imposing monastery fortresses built mainly in the 1600s as defensive outposts, which have left and indelible imprint on the memory of every visitor.
The dzongs - amazingly, built without any nails or plans on the paper - continue to serve as administrative and religious centers in each district and the capital, housing the National Government.
Flora and Fauna
Among the Himalayan nations, Bhutan has the richest variety of flora and fauna made possible by the ecological sensitivity of
the Bhutanese people and preserved by the sensible policies of a concerned government. The diversity of Bhutan's flora is such that one of the
country's ancient names was "The Country of Medicinal Herb's. Bhutan's wealth of wildlife includes rare animals such as the curious takin (the national animal), blue sheep, elusive snow leopards and the golden langur monkey, found nowhere else in the world.
Bhutanese crafts are justifiably renowned for their intricate artistry and variety. Modern market forces have not yet led to mass production and time-honored skills and techniques have endured by being passed from one generation to the next. Bhutan¹s hand-woven, vegetable-dyed fabrics, gold and silver jewelry, wood, bamboo and rattan wares are of exceptional quality.