Bob Nelson Photography
Bob Nelson Images Bhutan Bob Nelson Images Bhutan

Bhutan

Bhutan is a landlocked kingdom of about 750,000 people in the Eastern Himalayas. This incredible country is often referred to as ‘The Land Of The Thunder Dragon’ and has only, generally, been opened to Tourists since the 1970’s. The topography and climate consists of subalpine valleys and rugged, breathtaking mountains towering over 7000 metres which makes Bhutan one of the more scenic countries in Asia. It is the only country in the world with a ‘Gross National Happiness’, ‘GNH’, and accounts for the abundance of happy, welcoming and smiling people that you consistently come in contact with. It is said that ‘GNH’ aims to achieve a harmonious balance between spiritual and commercial elements.

The staple food is rice and the National dish is a combination of chili peppers, yak cheese sauce and either red or white rice. Red rice has a more nutty taste than white rice. Due to the mountainous terrain, only 2-3% of the land is arable.

Archery is the National sport and different villages compete with each other, placing targets at over 100 metres away. Even though the bows are hi-tech, I understand that they are not the same kind used in the Olympics.

About 75% of the people in Bhutan are Buddhists, with a small minority practising Nepalese- influenced Hinduism. The national dress is a knee length wrap around garment called ‘GNO’ for men and a ‘KIRA’ for women.

After a good friend of mine returned from Bhutan and described their experience, I immediately put Bhutan on my ‘Bucket List’. When I finally had the pleasure of getting there, I was fortunate to be there in November 2008 during the coronation of a new King. King Jigme Khesar Namgyel was crowned as the reigning Monarch and head of a new democracy.

As one of my passions is to photograph people, it was a real treat to meet such welcoming and friendly people at all times. In my mind there is no question that the overwhelming combination of spectacular scenery and friendly people made my trip to Bhutan most memorable and enjoyable. In looking at this book, I hope that it will help you to share my amazing experience.