“My country is not one big monastery populated with happy monks.”
That’s the first thing that Tshering Tobgay, the charismatic prime minister of the tiny Himalayan nation of Bhutan, wants you to know about his homeland.
People are forgiven for thinking otherwise. For its beautiful forests and mountains and ancient Buddhist architecture, Bhutan—a poor, isolated country sandwiched between India and China that famously measures Gross National Happiness as its main economic indicator—has been called the last Shangri-la. But the prime minister knows that perception works against Bhutan’s efforts to develop economically along a truly sustainable path that has eluded many other equally beautiful nations. In Bhutan, many people still live in poverty, youth unemployment is rising, and pressures on forests are increasing. Its total GDP, $2 billion, is half that of Springfield, Ohio. Continue reading How The Tiny, Poor Country Of Bhutan Became One Of The Most Sustainable Countries On Earth
Reclusive kingdom located between India and China has asked for advice on preserving masterworks from the 16th-19th centuries
Courtesy: The Observer (http://observer.guardian.co.uk/)
A 17th-century paintings of the Lama Lhakhang in Trongsa dzong.
British art experts have been given unique access to the hidden heritage of the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, including spectacular 16th- to 19th- century wall paintings from its 2,000 temples and monasteries.
Specialists from the Courtauld Institute have been amazed by the exquisite quality and technical sophistication of paintings that were largely unknown and unrecorded in the west. Professor David Park, from the Courtauld, said: “The wall paintings are absolutely stunning. Some of the earlier examples, especially, are extraordinary.” Continue reading Bhutan’s endangered temple art treasures
The government and the stakeholders agree on an ambitious plan to bring in 100,000 high-end tourists by year 2012.
Bhutan will be sold as a high quality and low impact tourist destination which draws visitors throughout the year by building the necessary infrastructure, setting high benchmarks for delivery of services, diversifying products, and ensuring that its benefits reach a larger segment of the population.
The consultative meeting between the stakeholders of tourism and the government in Thimphu yesterday decided on numerous reforms that will take the industry forward in the years to come. Bhutan will be positioned as a responsible, unique, authentic and quality destination anchored on GNH philosophy with minimum negative impact on natural and cultural heritage. A nine-pronged approach will be adopted to bring in 100,000 tourists by 2012. These include developing an additional 2-3 circuits, promoting new products and defining Bhutan’s brand identity, value proposition and market to target audience. Aviation capacities will be built internationally and locally with domestic helicopter/airline services commencing soon to key destinations.
… that showcases the possibilities however challenged persons may be
SPECIAL PEOPLE, SIMPLE NEEDS: Ugyen Wangdi, a hearing impaired student of Drugyel LSS spells it out.
International Disability Day 4 December, 2009 – In response to a question on what is the most important help he needed from the government, Ugyen Wangdi, a hearing impaired student of Drugyel lower secondary school wrote: “Books, pencil, paper, pen,” on a small green-board, pinned with a banner that read ‘Communicate through Reading and Writing’.
Ugyen Wangdi was part of an exhibition held yesterday to showcase the abilities of the mentally and physically challenged, as Bhutan observed International Day for Persons with Disabilities with the theme: Realising the millennium development goals for all.
The exhibition, held in the courtyard of the Druk Tashi Taj hotel, the only venue in the capital city with basic accessibility for the physically challenged, also had on display knitted weaves, woodcarvings, embroidery, artwork and a host of other items made by people with special needs. Continue reading An exhibition of abilities…
The first three-day nomadic festival will be held at Wangchuck Centennial Park in Bumthang starting December 26.
Nomads from all over Bhutan will come together dressed in their attires representing their regions and exchange their cultures and traditions.
Hundreds of nomads from Haa, Paro (Soi Yaksa), Thimphu (Naro), Gasa (Laya), Wangduephodrang (Sephu), Bumthang (Chhokhor, Tang, Shingkhar), Trashiyangtse (Bomdeling) and Trashigang (Merak and Sakten)will be participating.
During the three-day festival, various activities like awareness campaign on post-harvest of cordyceps, food safety and hygiene, yak and horse riding competition, yak bull lassoing, yak calf weight guessing and yak milking will be carried out. Traditional sports like dego, khuru, soksum and archery along with traditional songs and dances will be played. Continue reading Bhutan to organize first nomadic festival
Finding life difficult in Khalatsho, once famed for paddy, villagers abandon their homes
Villagers have to take a treacherous path to Dewathang in the winter months
28 November, 2009 – Once famous for paddy, the remote village of Khalatsho in Nganglam, Pemagatshel, is on the verge of being submerged by thickets and reverting into jungle once more.
Of its twelve households, only five remain. It has 15 residents, mostly in their forties, including two children, who will be joining school next year.
Thick overgrown bushes covering fallow paddy land, uncultivated for years, are drawing ever closer to the settlements.
Tigers get as close as to their animal sheds and have eaten up seven of their cattle this year alone. Elephants make loud noises at night and devour their maize, the village staple, which is grown twice a year. Continue reading Village returns to jungle
“My name is Dasho Paljor Dorji. I’ve been sober and clean since June 2004 …”
“I’m Dechen Wangmo, 26 years old and I haven’t been drinking alcohol since 2007 …”
“I’m Tshewang Tenzin, a recovering drug user, and I’m proud to say I’ve been sober since November 2006 …”
About 150 recovering drug users and alcoholics gathered at the YDF hall in Thimphu yesterday to celebrate the “clean and sober day”. Most of the participants wore white T-shirts and badges showing their sobriety, as they exchanged stories among themselves about loving the clean life. The T-shirts stated: “Ask me. See me. I am drug and alcohol free” – the theme for the event.
The sober and clean day attracted people from all walks of life, with many forms of addiction and varying lengths of sobriety.
16 November, 2009 – Sponsors, who are in the country, express happiness with progress on project. Consecration of the 169-foot bronze statue of Buddha Dordenma, Vajra Throne Buddha, being constructed at Kuensel Phodrang in Changbangdu, overlooking the capital city, Thimphu will be completed by October next year, said one of the main sponsors, Wong Kiam Seng. Wong Kiam Seng, who is in the country, along with other sponsors from Hongkong and Singapore, said, “We’re funding it because of our compassion for Buddhism,” adding that they are happy with the progress of the project. Over USD 30 million has been spent on the project so far, said Wong. Continue reading World’s tallest Buddha Statue opening in October ’10-Bhutan