Happiness is said to be a state of mind, a gratified, joyous and positive state of mind and a natural phenomenon. Time and again, folks from various parts of the world have tried to define happiness, label it to something, AND CONFINE it to materialism, addiction, power, luxury, fame and what not. In this callous world we live in today, if there is still a place that believes that happiness is not all of what is mentioned above, but, a way of living life, it is the Buddhist Kingdom on the Himalayas’ eastern edge, Bhutan. Renowned and perpetually recalled for its monasteries, Dzongs (Fortresses), and the dramatically pristine landscapes, Bhutan sets an example for the rest of the world, when it comes to leading a stress-free, gleeful, and ideal life.
The country’s distinctive identity, vibrant culture, and the preserved eco-system make it a peaceful oasis amidst the developmental chaos of this planet. It is the only country in the world to measure national happiness by way of an index known as Gross National Happiness.
The essence of existence in Bhutan, the passion of true beauty in its air, the sanctity emanated all around the mountains despite being called the Land of Thunder Dragon as well, and above all, the heart-warming smiles that embellish the place… makes Bhutan the last Shangri-La on Earth, a Himalayan Utopia worth visiting again and again for an enlightening journey of self-discovery.
Shangri-La is a fictional place defined in Lost Horizon, a 1933 novel written by British author, James Hilton. Shangri-La is a spiritual and harmonious valley, guided from a monastery, said to be an earthly paradise, remote from the world, just like Bhutan.
So much to explore, so much to relish, so much to remember and so much to learn… Bhutan is a place with variety, quality and experiences. There are almost 24 languages spoken in the country, Dzongkha being the most common one. The Bhutanese cuisine is filled with flavour and savouring spices, Ema Datshi is one of the most loved dishes, made from chili peppers and cheese. One of the most amazing facts about the country is that it is a no smoking zone, they banned tobacco and its usage in any form more than a decade ago. And, there is so much greenery to please human senses, about 72% of the country is forested. This country is an abode to various creatures like Bengal Tigers, Clouded Shepherds, Red Pandas, Black Bears and more.
Dochula Pass, consisting of 108 Chortens or Stupas, built as a remembrance to the Bhutanese soldiers, the 169 feet tall gold and bronze Buddha Dordenma statue located at the foot hills in Thimphu, the Chele La pass, the 16th century fort, Rinpung Dzong- known as the Fortress On A Heap Of Jewels, the Gangtey Valley and more are some of the most famous spots to visit and travel around.
So, why is Bhutan the Last Shangri-La on Earth? Because it will teach you that there is beauty that exists beyond worldly and materialistic pleasures. It will unfold the real life within you. It will show you paradise.