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Happiness in The Himalayas
Happiness in The Himalayas

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My little country Bhutan is sandwiched between the two giant nations of the world, China in the north and Indian in the south. To the world, it is known as the land of happiness and is recognized as the only carbon negative country in the whole world. In Bhutan, all the natural elements like mountains, rivers, rocks and even the tress have been revered and considered sacred for centuries as the abode of local deities and gods. Such beliefs have helped the people in natural conservation efforts. Conserving the natural environment is one of the pillars of the Gross National Happiness, a gift from His Majesty King Jigme Singye Wangchuk to Bhutan and to the world at large. The unique developmental philosophy founded by His Majesty the king was to strive for wholesome development by putting people at the center of it without compromising basic human values in such a way that natural balance was respected. Bhutan has a clearly established framework for the development of tourism underpinned by the country’s Gross National Happiness.

The principle of High-Value, Low-Impact Tourism was introduced to Bhutan in 1974 as a part of a visionary modernization and economic development plan. Thus, the government has set a mandatory minimum daily tariff, with an objective of maximizing foreign exchange earnings while minimizing the potentially adverse cultural and environmental impacts from mass tourism.

Not only does the guiding policy of tourism growth in Bhutan has undoub­t­­edly contributed to the unique tourism brand on the world forum but also plays a very important role in gen­erating employment opp­ortunities and the country’s revenue. It is the second highest revenue generator and has created a lot of employment opportunities through the development of locally owned and operated private sectors and stake holders. Almost 80% of Bhutan’s population live in rural areas and are mostly engaged in the agricultural sector, tourism has contributed the farmers to earn from tourist transport, farm stay, portage and the promotion of indigenous handicrafts.

The main tourism attractions in my country is our unique culture and the simple way of life, the historic monuments and its religious festivals, and the pristine environment. Protecting the nature and our culture is part our value system and is an important aspect of the traditional way of life in my country and the tourism policy reflects these concerns. The policy of imposing US$ 250 per person per day tariff includes the royalty (US$65) charged by the government, food, accommodation, local transport and guides. This has succeeded in providing a source of government income for free education and healthcare, building tourism and transport infrastructure, while at the same time making Bhutan an exclusive and distinctive destination.

With the strength of the country’s natural assets, Tourism in Bhutan has diversified from mostly cultural tourists, sightseers and trekkers to special interests, such as sports and adventure tourism to ecotourism and nature-based tourism. The country’s rich natural environment, including more than 770 species of birds and over 165 species of animals, and the government’s conservation policy make Bhutan a prime destination for ecotourism.

To provide value for the money paid by the travelers, all tour operators and tour guides are licensed by the Tourism Council of Bhutan and the hotels are categorized by the council.
With due consideration of the government of Bhutan and its people, sustainability of tourism will flourish for sure.

#Bhutan #Travel #SustainableTourism #Ecotourism #Nature #Happiness #Food #Wellness
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Bhutan, the land of happiness is safest place on earth for solo and female travelers. Hidden in the Mighty Himalayas, even the most seasoned travelers consider themselves privileged to visit Bhutan. The people of Bhutan, always smiling will greet you with…

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The remarkable and steep descent into the Paro valley is an awe-inspiring beginning to an adventure of a lifetime.
#SustainableTourism #BhutanTour #Travel #Ecotourism

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  Gross National Happiness is a holistic and sustainable approach to development, which balances material and non-material values with the conviction that humans want to search for happiness. It was as simple as that back then when our Great Fourth King…

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The phallus valley

Filled up with phallus all over the valley, there stands the Temple of Fertility (Chime Lhakhang) on a round hillock which is viewed by the locals as a shape of a woman’s breast. There was a time when the Devine Mad Man (Lama Drukpa Kunley) subdued the demon of Dochula using his magic thunderbolt of wisdom (Penis) and trapped her inside a rock close to where the temple now stands. The temple was built in 1499 by his cousin, The 14th Drukpa Hierarch, Ngawang Choegyel, after the site was blessed by the Divine Madman. The great saint was known as the Devine Mad Man for his unorthodox ways of spreading Buddha’s dharma through songs, wine and outrageous behavior. The Devine Mad Man was born into the branch of the Noble Gya, clan of Ralung Tibet in the year 1455, he became a monk at Ralung Monastery, later became a very popular poet and he was also known for his method of enlightening other beings, mostly women, which earned him the title ‘The Saint of 5000 women’. After mastering his Buddhist teaching in Ralung monastery under many great Masters, he was supposed to travel around and spread the teachings. It was believed that when he was not sure about his destination, he shot an arrow from Tibet and was landed in Toep Chandanang valley, minutes’ walk from the Fertility Temple. Following the path of the Dharma arrow, the Divine Mad Man came to Bhutan and spread the Buddhist teachings through his unorthodox ways travelling around the country. He is credited with introducing the practice of phallus painting in Bhutan. It is believed that the phallus can bring good luck. Today you will see the paintings of phallus on the outside walls of houses, you will also see carved wooden phalluses hung in people’s homes as well as outside. The wooden phalluses are also placed in the middle of fields to act as a scarecrow. During tshechu festivals, the masked clowns also decorate their headgear with phallus painted cloth and dance with their holy whips and wooden phalluses. The phallus is also used during rituals to chase away the evil spirits.
The Temple of Fertility is believed to bless couples who seek fertility and it is frequently visited by childless couples. Some of the tourists from different parts of the world with difficulty in conceiving baby, visited the Fertility Temple and been blessed with the phallus. There is a photo album with pictures of the newly born babies with gratitude notes and to my shock, even the tourists believed in the fertility blessings and the number of the babies born after the blessing is quite a lot!
The Fertility Temple is located in Punakha district in a valley called Sopsokha, an easy fifteen to twenty minutes hike in the valley through agricultural fields of mustards and rice will bring you to the beautiful Temple of Fertility. After turning the rows of prayer wheels and feeling the peacefulness of the place, one can visit the temple inside. The walls inside the temple are full of paintings depicting the biography and the teaching of the Devine Mad Man. One can also see the statue of the Devine Mad Man, his original walking stick, bow and arrow. A well-known tourist guide like Kunley from the same valley, knows a lot about the place and will have so many stories to tell you. Kunley feels proud and blessed to be born in the valley of phallus and remains a true follower of the Devine Mad Man.

#Bhutan #Travel #Tour #Trek #Wellness #Nature #Yoga #Food #GrossNationalHappiness
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My little country Bhutan is sandwiched between the two giant nations of the world, China in the north and Indian in the south. To the world, it is known as the land of happiness and is recognized as the only carbon negative country in the whole world. In Bhutan, all the natural elements like mountains, rivers, rocks and even the tress have been revered and considered sacred for centuries as the abode of local deities and gods. Such beliefs have helped the people in natural conservation efforts. Conserving the natural environment is one of the pillars of the Gross National Happiness, a gift from His Majesty King Jigme Singye Wangchuk to Bhutan and to the world at large. The unique developmental philosophy founded by His Majesty the king was to strive for wholesome development by putting people at the center of it without compromising basic human values in such a way that natural balance was respected. Bhutan has a clearly established framework for the development of tourism underpinned by the country’s Gross National Happiness.

The principle of High-Value, Low-Impact Tourism was introduced to Bhutan in 1974 as a part of a visionary modernization and economic development plan. Thus, the government has set a mandatory minimum daily tariff, with an objective of maximizing foreign exchange earnings while minimizing the potentially adverse cultural and environmental impacts from mass tourism.

Not only does the guiding policy of tourism growth in Bhutan has undoub­t­­edly contributed to the unique tourism brand on the world forum but also plays a very important role in gen­erating employment opp­ortunities and the country’s revenue. It is the second highest revenue generator and has created a lot of employment opportunities through the development of locally owned and operated private sectors and stake holders. Almost 80% of Bhutan’s population live in rural areas and are mostly engaged in the agricultural sector, tourism has contributed the farmers to earn from tourist transport, farm stay, portage and the promotion of indigenous handicrafts.

The main tourism attractions in my country is our unique culture and the simple way of life, the historic monuments and its religious festivals, and the pristine environment. Protecting the nature and our culture is part our value system and is an important aspect of the traditional way of life in my country and the tourism policy reflects these concerns. The policy of imposing US$ 250 per person per day tariff includes the royalty (US$65) charged by the government, food, accommodation, local transport and guides. This has succeeded in providing a source of government income for free education and healthcare, building tourism and transport infrastructure, while at the same time making Bhutan an exclusive and distinctive destination.

With the strength of the country’s natural assets, Tourism in Bhutan has diversified from mostly cultural tourists, sightseers and trekkers to special interests, such as sports and adventure tourism to ecotourism and nature-based tourism. The country’s rich natural environment, including more than 770 species of birds and over 165 species of animals, and the government’s conservation policy make Bhutan a prime destination for ecotourism.

To provide value for the money paid by the travelers, all tour operators and tour guides are licensed by the Tourism Council of Bhutan and the hotels are categorized by the council.
With due consideration of the government of Bhutan and its people, sustainability of tourism will flourish for sure.

#Bhutan #Travel #SustainableTourism #Ecotourism #Nature #Happiness #Food #Wellness
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