The Land of the Thunder Dragon, Bhutan.
by Rodolfo Contreras
Bhutan is the country you always dreamed of when you were young; that should exist, but you doubted its existence. From the very beginning it is a fascinating experience; from the time you land in the middle of the mountain at Paro, its capital. It is the entrance to a wonderful world, an imaginary world.
The Bhutanese architecture is spectacular and makes Bhutan a unique country while the scenery makes you think you are part of a “dream”; but what makes Bhutan so special is its people. It is a country where people live slowly, without stress and excess talk, they are family focused and you can become captivated by that spirit. There are few cars and no traffic lights at all (maybe the only country in the world); men’s customary attire is a skirt; archery is the national sport and you can see people practicing in the national stadium in the capital or in any esplanade in the countryside; tobacco sales are forbidden (instead they use something call dhoma that makes people’s mouths red); the national animal is a rare one, takin (“mix of a God and a Yak”) and the houses have phalluses paintings on the walls (to scare away the demons).
All together, this is a very 'special place'. It's religious influence can be witnessed in every aspect of daily life (memorials, dzongs, pilgrimage paths, temples, monasteries, sacred valleys, sacred mountains…), magical stories are the norm (like Guru Rinpoche, the biggest Bhutan “hero”, flying on top of a tiger) or stories such as that of Madmen (another great country 'hero') who can throw an arrow from Tibet to Bhutan (hundreds of miles away), and then follow its path and find the arrow. This union of people, scenery and stories altogether gives you a magical sense that you have entered into a fairy tale.
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