Bhutan Himalaya. To the south lies India, Tibet to the north. The topography of Bhutan is dramatically varied, featuring pine-clad valleys, terraced hills and towering, snow-tipped ranges with impenetrable heights. Monasteries cling to cliff sides and rivers snake through valleys. Orchards line their banks. Bhutan.
It boasts a great diversity of awe-inspiring landscapes of snow-clad mountains, lush valleys, dense forests and rushing streams that are considered to be the abodes of the gods.
History and People of Bhutan
A breath-taking panorama flight along the Himalaya range brings you from Kathmandu to Bhutan the “Kingdom of Gross Happiness”. While landing in the so-called “Dragon Kingdom”, the first glance of the typical and traditional architecture is astonishing. Leaving the airport, the view of prayer flags fluttering across the mountains and rivers is omnipresent. The entire nation is Buddhist and retains a deep respect for religious tradition.
Having only opened its doors to tourism in 1974, the mountain Kingdom of Bhutan remains one of the old world’s last few strongholds, as yet unspoilt by civilization, enabling it to maintain rich culture and traditions based on its strong Buddhist heritage. Every aspect of the Bhutanese life and art from the pilgrims spinning their prayer wheels and chanting mantras to the red-robed monks performing sacred ceremonies in the monasteries is deeply influenced by the national traditions.
The hospitality of the population of this small Kingdom of the Himalaya is well-known. Bhutan advocates that amassing material wealth does not necessarily lead to happiness, and through this cautious approach to development, has been largely successful in avoiding the social and environmental destruction wreaked in other developing countries. It measures thus its gross domestic progress through “Gross National Happiness” that has gained in popularity around the world.
The visits of the various fascinating sites, with the highlight of the hike up to one of the most venerable religious sitesof Bhutan: Taktshang Goemba monastery, also known as “Tiger Nest”, and the stays in exclusive and authentic hotels in a full immersion with the nature, makes your stay unique and memorable.
The climat of Bhutan
Bhutan’s climate varies greatly depending on elevation – from the warm, subtropics of the south to the cool, permanent snow-covered Himalayas.
The main seasons to to visit Bhutan are Spring and Autumn.
Spring (March to May) is usually cloudier with some rain, however the wildlife and flowers are at their most vivid.
Autumn (September to November) is a great season to visit with the best mountain views and mild weather.
During Winter (December to February) the temperatures can reach below freezing, though the day time temperatures are usually mild with clear skies, and snowfall is minimal.
The monsoon season lasts from mid-June until late early September and is usually not highly recommended for travel.
Once every year, a dzong or most important village may hold a religious festival, or Tsechu. Villagers from the surrounding district come for several days of religious observances and socializing while contributing auspicious offerings to the lama or monastery of the festival. The central activity is a fixed set of religious mask dances, or cham, held in a large courtyard.
Each individual dance takes up to several hours to complete and the entire set may last two to four days. Observation of the dances directly blesses the audience and also serves to transmit principles of Tantric Buddhism to the villagers. A number of the dances can be traced directly back to Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal himself, the founder of Bhutan, and have been passed down essentially unchanged since the mid-17th century.
Prior to dawn on the final day of the tsechu a huge tapestry, or thongdrel, is unfurled in the courtyard of the dzong for several hours. The mere sight of it is believed to bring spiritual liberation. The thongdrel is rolled up before the rays of the morning sun can strike it.