Who is Zhabdrung, the Father of Bhutan?

A large statue of a smiling bearded Lama with a red hat dominates the hall of every monastery in Bhutan. Who is the father of Bhutan? Zhabdrung Rinpoche was a brilliant Tibetan Lama of royal birth, named Ngawang Namgyal. Destined by dynastic lineage to be the spiritual-political head of...

Meet the Blue Poppy, National Flower of Bhutan

No, it’s not an opium-producing poppy, but it is a mythical one. The mesmerizing and hypnotically bright blue poppy, Meconopsis gakyidiana, was once believed to be a legend, as it’s notoriously difficult to spot in the highest mountains. Many kinds of poppies grow in the world, but the bright BLUE...

Gross National Happiness, Guiding Philosophy of Bhutan

by Tshering Yangdon. Bhutan is one of the happiest kingdoms in the world. The people of this country are living in harmony. They adopt a very unique philosophy known as GNH. Gross National Happiness is a development philosophy with value. It brings about judicious balance between spiritual and economic...

Gho and Kira, the National Dress of Bhutan

By Tshering Yangdon. Did you know the Bhutanese national dress was codified over 400 years ago? The code was set in the 17th century, during the reign of the famous Rinpoche and “Father of Bhutan”, Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. Yes, the Zhabdung’s far-sighted vision of maintaining the country’s unity and...

The Five Kings of Bhutan, and a Sixth in the Making

By Tshering Yangdon. Bhutan is a kingdom that follows a constitutional monarchy form of government. It is one of the happiest countries in the world where people live in harmony, led by the faithful and kind-hearted kings. Words cannot express the Bhutanese people’s love and respect for their kings. Bhutan’s...

Bhutan’s Tshechu Festivals: Masked Dancers Enact Ancient Battles

This is an excerpt from my book proposal “Footprints of the Enlightened Ones”. Sending warm greetings. All is well here. I’m grateful for lovely summer weather in the forests of Paro. There are secrets in the mountains of Bhutan. And deep memories in flesh and blood. Not sure where to...

What’s the Meaning of a White Tiger?

The White Tiger is a rare and exceptional anomaly that occurs naturally in only one out of 10,000 Bengal tiger births. Bengal tigers are normally orange with black stripes and green or yellow eyes. However white tigers are pure white with black stripes and sapphire blue eyes. White tigers tend...