A land locked away and kept a mystery to most who cannot afford it, Bhutan has been my preferred Shangri La after Ladakh. The water is pure. The people are pure. The alcohol is cheap. The cigarettes are illegal. Its how life should be. The fact that I love it is cliched and quite an understatement. After you have somehow escaped Assam, Bhutan feels like one of those lost paradises that movies keep talking about. A four-hour journey from Agra to Delhi felt taxing.

Blessed Bhutan

It is said that a trip to Bhutan can give you a bad case of ‘Shangri-La’, an affliction you never quite shake. In a world where you can virtually count the last truly untouched places on one hand, the eternal yearning for the mystical, earthly paradise totally isolated from the outside world (as immortalised in James Hilton’s novel, Last Horizon) pretty much describes the otherworldly mountain kingdom of Bhutan. Nestled between China and India at the eastern end of the Himalayas, this independent country has managed to remain remote and virtually unscathed by modernity and political turmoil well into the millennium. But then foreigners have only been allowed to visit in the last 30 years or so, with TV and internet having arrived in 1999, followed by cellphones in 2003 and luxury tourism in 2004. Read more…