Bhutan, The Kingdom of Happiness

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With the freshest air, high mountains, foothills, and scenic valleys crossed by huge clean rivers, protected woods, and forests of rhododendrons, beautiful Bhutan is primarily rural and agricultural. Policies are rooted in the Buddhist notion that the ultimate purpose of life is inner happiness. Bhutan, the Land of the Thunder Dragon is a country on the brink of modernization,

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but not there yet. It is one of the few places still steeped in rich, old world charm of ringing bells, prayer wheels, colorful flags, and it is well known for the happiness of its people! It is sometimes called the “last Shangri La.” That is why we want to visit there NOW!

A country the size of Switzerland, tourists generally travel on the one main road that goes through it. Naturally, we will take that road but we will, i
n an unusual move, veer off, because our local guide is taking us to stay with his family who lives in a remote village.
A former monk, he will also take us to visit his friends at local monasteries for special teachings and meditations. In Bhutan, they practice mostly Drukpa Kargyu, a Tibetan Buddhism. 326We will participate with the monks in a special butter lamp ceremony.

At the marketplace our guide will help to outfit us in traditional dress so that we fit in with the people.When we go to participate in the Black-Necked Crane Festival, we will be a part of the colorful celebration. This festival is held in the beautiful Phobjika Valley with a stunning dzong on the hill. The bonus at this time of year is that the fresh air in morning and at dusk is filled with the cry of the cranes. These sacred Black-Necked cranes, one of the most rare species in the world, are protected in Bhutan, along with many other unique wildlife varieties. We will walk with the local people as they proceed through the valley and up the hill to the monastery. In front of the temple, dancers dip and swirl through age-old dances brought with them from across the Himalaya.

174No visit to Bhutan is complete without going to the best known monastery in the world,Taksang, the Tiger’s Nest Monastery. Perched on a high cliff, it marks one of the most important places in Buddhism. While flying on his tiger, Guru Rinpoche identified Taksang as a power place and spent time meditating in a cave in the mountain. We have the option to hike up the mountain to visit Taksang, lighting butter lamps for our wishes.

312During our travels, we will cook meals with the villagers, put prayer flags at sacred river crossings, walk a kora through the village fields, participate with the monks in special meditations at the mountaintop temples and glimpse the majestic Himalayan mountains, such as Jomolhari, one of the most beautiful of the eastern Himalayan peaks. It summits at 23,996 feet.

This will be an unusual trip to remember for a lifetime!

Join Adventurous Spirit Travel for an experiential journey to the Kingdom of Bhutan that artfully mixes Buddhism, nature, authentic rituals, traditional Bhutanese culture and mountaintop monasteries.

This trip allows you to participate in the real and mythical culture of the kingdom.

You will get an in-depth look at Buddhist culture in Bhutan, seeing and experiencing things that most travelers never will.