Kingdom of the Peaceful Thunder Dragon

Photo essay: Journey to enigmatic Bhutan

by Keyvan Tabari
Puff the magic dragon! Even the country’s official name is magically evocative: The Kingdom of the Peaceful Thunder Dragon. Barely a half-million “people from the highland,” which Bhutan means in Sanskrit, have created a distinct culture in the isolation of their abode which is the narrow valleys of the Inner Himalaya Mountains. In that Shangri-la over centuries they mixed Tibetan Mahayana Buddhism with esoteric Tantrism and local Bon myths and legends of demons and animistic deities. Their only standing monuments of the past are the fortresses of their feudal elite. The monarchy that has prevailed in the last century is drawing upon this tradition to preserve its vision of the future. While much of that vision is from the fertile imagination of one man, the Fourth King, it is buttressed by emphasis on compassion and community. The audacious conceit is that happiness should be the goal of development in an age whose goals are defined in material terms. Foreign access to this experimental laboratory is carefully guarded, at the same time that Bhutan is becoming all the more attractive due to the increasing limitations on touring other Himalayan countries >>> more

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Ladan Farhangi

A great photo essay

by Ladan Farhangi on

Thank you for sharing.


I think cow-goat hybrid is a myth.

by Anonymouse on

I searched to see if I can find anything more about it but looks like it's a myth.  Found this answer. 

Nice pictures.

Everything is sacred


Not cheap

by Princess on

One of the places top on my list to visit, but it won't be cheap with their up to $250 /per day tourist tarrif. I guess that's how they can keep the masses from their beautiful peaceful land. How many days did you stay?

Thanks for sharing your rare experience.

Jahanshah Javid

Must go

by Jahanshah Javid on

This is my favorite photo essay of yours so far. If I go to India this winter (fingers crossed) I will now try my best to visit Bhutan as well. Thank you so much for sharing your travels with such detail and color.


Thanks for sharing your

by bambi on

Thanks for sharing your travel experience.  Enjoyed the photos and the  captions.



by yolanda on

The cow-goat hybrid is very interesting:


I have never seen that in my, it is national animal of Bhutan!