Tashi Delek!: is an auspicious bhutanese expression with a number of meanings such as wishing you well, congratulations, cheers, good luck!!
It is the youngest democracy in the world and has become globally recognized for its adoption of “Gross National Happiness” a term coined by his Majesty, the 4th king of Bhutan, in 1972. The concept of GNH consists of 4 pillars: social economic development, conservation and promotion of culture, protection of environment and good governance. Its objective is to achieve balanced development essential for people’s happiness.
The Bhutanese name for Bhutan “Druk Yul” means “Land of the Thunder Dragon” and opened up to outsiders only in 1970 but still now tourism is restricted: only a certain number of visitors per year is allowed and must travel as part of a pre-arranged package or guided tour.
There are no skyscrapers, no traffic lights, no car manufacturers but just pristine environment, fresh and clean air and water, blue sky with high mountain peaks perennial covered with snow, this is what you will find visiting this fascinating country.
Bhutan is an ancient land with unique customs and people with deep held beliefs. A land of dzongs and monasteries, white stupas, colorful festivals, dances, are also main attractions of this country. A country proud of its unique culture and traditions: from environment to dress to language to religion; they manage to keep their rich heritage always alive.
Dance is part of bhutanese people, in Bhutan everyone is a dancer. The main attraction are the cham or sacred dances many of which reenact stories about saints and deities. Chams are performed by masked dancers who wear decorated silk costumes and are accompanied by monk musicians chanting and playing.
Travelling around the country you will be astonished to see so many prayer flags and prayerwheels!
Bhutan landscape is awash with prayer flags: horizontal flags known as “lung ta” (wind horse) and vertical flags known as “Dhar Shing” referring to prayer flag poles. Prayer flags must be put up on a particular auspicious day in order to invoke good luck and increase life force. They come in set of five colors: white, yellow, red, green and blue representing the 5 elements: earth, water, fire, air and space.
Prayer wheels are usually found around temples and monasteries, attached to the walls so that people can spin them when entering or leaving the temple or monastery. You can also find them built at water sources where the water running makes the wheel turning thus producing a continuous jingle sound which can be heard at far distance.
Many religious and historical monuments dot the hills of Bhutan. Its architecture is unique and is richly displayed in fortress, the Dzong, used today as administrative centers but also a religious part as monastery. Dzong and monastries are not considered only as spiritual and historical attraction, but also a veritable example of bhutanese art, architecture, culture and way of life. Taktshang Lakhang, known also as Tiger’s Nest monastery, is one of the most important buddhist monasteries in Bhutan. Situated in the outskirts of Paro, on a vertical cliff at 3.000 mt , it is believed that, according to a legend, Guru Rinpoche flew on this cliff from Tibet on the back of a tiger, stopping and meditating in the monastery
The Chorten, more commonly known as Stupa, are sacred structures containing consecrated items or sacred relics, such as written mantras, hair or pieces of clothing. In white conical shape, surrounded by colorful prayer’s flags, they dot the country landscape.