Bowled Over by Bhutan - 2007


There are many poetic names applied to this most beautiful country—Land of the

Thunder Dragon being the most famous and Shangri-la being the most favorable. In

addition, during our visit there we thought of some descriptive titles of our own—The

Cloud Kingdom, The Quiet Dragon Land, and Valleys High being our own favorites.

However, in the spirit of our frolicsome adventure there, I decided to name this chapter for

our most unsettling experience in the nation. Though English has one of the largest

vocabularies of earth’s languages, even all its many adjectives cannot really convey the

astonishing beauty of this tiny kingdom, lost in time among the majestic Himalayas. The

country cries out for photographers and I was lucky enough to be traveling with three

excellent ones. So while I struggled with my lack of adequate words to express

the glory of the landscape, they aimed their lenses at everything—sky-aspiring

mountains, velvet green valleys, torrential glacial rivers, small, tidy farms, sleepy towns,

two & three story homes with the most amazing window and door-jamb designs, sturdy

temples blazing with golden tops, colorful birds, flamboyant flowers, dense virgin forests,

amazing insects and the wonderful, friendly and handsome Bhutanese people.

Many people, having no idea where this remote tiny kingdom is situated on the planet,

know that its monarch has declared his intention to measure the success of his governance,

not by the Gross National Product—its financial health--but by its Gross National Happiness!

By their own criteria, King Jigme Singye Wangchuk (he proclaimed the goal in 1972) and his

son the present King Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchukin have achieved a triumph beyond

their own daring.

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