Saturday, November 27, 2010 by Keith

Bhutan The Last Shangri-La gets a visit by Keith Berr

Temple Boy

Tigers Nest

Some friends of ours invited us to travel with them to of all places, the country of Bhutan. It is an intriguing Tibetan land of mountains, tigers, monkeys and the most beautiful people in the world. When photographing a person, the subject would often bow and thank me for doing so. Bhutan is sometimes called the last Shangri-La and for good reason, it was sealed until the mid-1970s, allowing just a trickle of outsiders with strict visa regulations. Bhutan is protected by the mighty Himalayas from the rest of the world and is the only country where the Monarch rule is still in existence. This monarch king is wild; he has 4 wives, all sisters.

The country is hidden in the Eastern Himalayas between India and Tibet and is only the size of Switzerland, sparsely populated with 650,000 people. It is as pristine as it gets, its culture and environment have been largely unaltered by the 21st century electronics era. Bhutan had a deliberate policy of isolation, fearing that outside influences would adulterate the culture and the people and the kings have been successful in their endevors of keeping a pristine world. Cigarettes are illegal, blue plastic bags too. The country is so clean, people heat with wood, running water and electricity are a luxury in many areas, red robed monks are part of the landscape and it is indeed one the most serene, spritual places that I will ever visit.

Many photos to come but I need weeks to sort through the over 10,000 images that Linda and I captured in Bhutan, "The land of the Thunder Dragon".

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