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Bhutan: Land of the Thunder Dragon, Department of Tourism
Book Review
Bumthang Cover Photo: Bhutan's Olympic archer, Tshering Choden
2007 promises to be a momentous year for Bhutan for the tourism industry which plans to mark the celebration of 100 years of Monarchy in the kingdom.

Planning a series of events in a year-long festivity the Department of Tourism has released a collection of writings "Bhutan: Land of the Thunder Dragon" to promote tourism and Bhutan to the world.

Unlike normal tourist brochures the publication seeks to be a cultural and literary companion. It has a blend of travel writing and essays made enjoyable with good writing. The splendour of the Bhutanese landscape and the unique world of the Bhutanese way of life are portrayed with alluring use of pictures and design as well.

Land of the Thunder Dragon,
Department of Tourism, Bhutan, 2005,
64 pages;
US$ 10 or Nu. 400
published in German and English

"Meet the Bhutanese"

As part of the celebration of the centenary of Monarchy in Bhutan on December 17, 2007, the Department of Tourism is planning new programmes for the year to bring visitors closer to the Bhutanese. The theme for the year is "Meet the Bhutanese" and innovative programmes are being developed to take visitors to villages, live on farms, mingle with school children, and partake in archery tournaments.

Village festivals, some of it to be shown for the first time to visitors, food festivals showcasing the delicacies of Bhutanese cuisine, sacred and historical places will form a part of the Bhutanese experience.

Some of the programmes like the Royal Heritage Tour will take visitors on a journey to the places where the Monarchy began and resided, and through the path that the tourism department promises will relive Bhutan in the past.

New treks and trails are also being planned, including the Nabji/Korphu which will take the trekkers across sub-tropical regions of Wangduephodrang, Trongsa and Zhemgang. There is also the new Great Himalayan Trail which will take trek lovers from Haa in the west to Trashiyangtse in the east right through Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim in India to Nepal.

If today's positive reviews and exposure are any guide, the director of the tourism department, Lhatu Wangchuk, told that Bhutan could meet the visitor target of 15,000 a year.

House in Bumthang
Contributed by Bhutanese writers and Bhutan observers, the articles provides an insight into Bhutan's past and present, its culture, history, politics and people. Some attempt to throw light on an ancient society seeking a balance between tradition and modernity in a globalised world.

In the short article on Gross National Happiness (GNH), Bhutan's unique development philosophy, one of the contributors, Siok Sian Pek-Dorji, tells us that GNH is regarded as an expression of Bhutan's time-tested system of strong and viable tradition that has evolved over the centuries. It's an inspiration, she says, for today's world.

There is the engaging short story of a farmer, Tikchung, who is trapped in the forest with the mythical abominable snowman or yeti, believed by the West to roam the deep folds of the Himalayas. Kunzang Choden, the author of Bhutanese tales of the yeti, tells this story in the fashion of much loved Bhutanese fireside stories, mixing folklore with myth.

There are, in total, 20 articles and stories, each sprinkled with a personal touch and depth not found in competing guides, on the different unique aspects of Bhutan and its people, ranging from arts and architecture to food, archery and trek trails.

The publication can be dipped into at random or read from start to finish. It's published in German and English. Released during March 2005 ITB- Berlin (a tourism fair in Berlin, Germany, where hundreds of countries attend), the publication was well received by people and press.

This article was contributed b Kyencho Wangdi,KUENSEL, Bhutan's National Newspaper, 2005
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