On the roof of the world shoehorned into the grand Himalaya, Bhutan, The Thunder Dragon, is a fiercely independent kingdom. Its isolation has helped it to repel colonists and its geography has enabled it to remain free from the acquisitive whims of its giant neighbours. In a world where all countries are intertwined with economic and political treaties, Bhutan stands alone - self - sufficient and proud of it. The kingdom asks for few favours and expects little in return.
 

  Bhutan is also a deeply religious country. Bhutaanese people are driven by their respect for the tantric strain of Mahayana Buddhism. Bhutanese practice their beliefs as an integral part of their everyday lives - with none of the fears so often associated with religious practice in teh Western world.

 

          Bhutan is an extraordinary place hardly touched by the hands of time. Nestling in the heart of the great Himalaya, it remained in self-imposed isolation for centuries, aloof from the rest of the world. Since its doors were cautiously opened in 1974, visitors have been mesmerised: the environment is pristine, the scenery and architecture are awesome, the people are hospitable and charming, and the culture unique in its purity.

          Despite the huge potential of its natural resources, Bhutan emerged  as  one  of  Asia's  poorest  countries, shunning the 'profit at all

costs' mentality of the rest of the world. With one foot in the past and one in the future, it strolls confidently towards modernisation, on its own terms, fiercely protecting its ancient culture, its natural resources and its deeply Buddhist way of life.

          Archeological evidence suggests Bhutan was inhabited possibly as early as 2000 BC. Buddhism was probably introduced in the 2nd century although traditionally its introduction is credited to the first visit of Guru Rimpoche in the 8th century.