Bhutan is one among the toptravel destinations in the world where success is defined through the lens of collective happiness of its citizens. The annual turnover of tourists in Bhutan is intentionally kept very low ensure quality tourism. Mystically hidden in the folds of the Great Himalayas is the last Shangri-La on earth, known to most as Bhutan but these hill-people proudly call themselves Drukpa and their land Druk or Drukyul, literally translated-the Land of Thunder Dragon. What has set this little nation apart from the rest of the world is its courageous decision to adopt Gross National Happiness (GNH) as its guiding philosophy for development.Hence, here in Bhutan progress is measured in terms of the collective happiness of its citizens, a dream proclaimed in 1972 by a young Dragon king who was then barely out of his teens. His Majesty the fourth King has also envisioned creating an enlightened society through a balanced pursuit of material progress and spiritual wellbeing.
Many visitors describe Bhutan as a mystical, harmonious valley coexisting with nature. Gross National Happiness which was introduced as developmental policy is now individuals’ everyday living principles. As you walk through any valley you will hear laughter echoing through paddy fields. Bhutanese have so much time at hand contrary to people in western countries. You meet any Bhutanese especially from rural areas they will talk with you for hours. The idea of rush-hour is hardly familiar to Bhutanese. Bhutanese are mostly peaceful. Most Bhutanese aspire for enlightenment. At an individual level they practice mindfulness. At a society they render help. Most Bhutanese avoid animal cruelty. They are genuinely kind even to stray dogs. You could still walk through any village of Bhutan and feel safe. Bhutanese love their neighbours as their own family. They ensure safety, food and health of their neighbour. With Bhutanese kindness you could still survive some months without a job.
Bhutanese are deeply cultured people. Their interest in art is manifested in their environment. The valley welcomes you with unique fortresses, murals, traditional Bhutanese houses and Thankas. Interestingly Punakha has valley of phallus. ChhimiLhakang a resident of lam Drukpa Kuenley who subdued devils by his phallus is now most revered and represented by the symbol.The valley has phallic symbols on walls, key hanger and gift packages.Now interestingly most Bhutanese houses have phallic symbol on their walls. Festivity isanother most activity in Bhutanese blood. Bhutanese loves celebrations and get-together. Thus sound of trumpet, flutes, dances and songs will welcome any visitor round the year. Bhutanese adorned in heavy silk, brocade and ornaments will be walking across valleys during tsechu. Tsechus are spread across the seasons thus any visitors can have taste of festivity any time.