History and happiness in the “Land of the Thunder Dragon”
During our term in Bhutan we learned about the country’s innovative approach to planning the next stages of global development using the four pillars of Gross National Happiness as organizing principles. We visited massive fortress monasteries known as dzongs, including the Trashichodzong (Thimphu Dzong), where we studied its design with noted architect Karma Gelay. We explored Bhutan’s holy Buddhist temples known as lhakhangs, where we viewed sacred religious paintings that date back over 500 years. At Kurjey Lhakhang, we learned about Guru Rinpoche, the founder of Tantric Buddhism (who is regarded by many Bhutanese as the second Buddha himself). In Punakha, we took to river rafts to explore the spectacular landscapes that line the banks of the Puna Tsang Chhu (Punakha River). Here, we also searched for the extremely rare White-Bellied Heron, of which there are less than 200 remaining.
While on our way to visit the Taktsang Palphug (Tiger’s Nest) Monastery, we flew over enormous Himalayan glaciers and met with esteemed glaciologist Karma Toeb. During a lecture, he warned of the consequences that global warming will inflict on the slowly diminishing bodies of ice. Finally, in Chhukha we visited the Chhukha Hydroelectric Project, where Druk Green’s Head of Operations Lam Dorji discussed the importance of environmental conservation and laid out the steps that have been taken by the colossal dam project to ensure minimal impact on its surrounding communities.
Check out collected writing, photos, and video from THINK Global School’s Bhutan Intersession.
A student exhibition
Bhutan in Photos
See the country through our eyes
Gross National Happiness
See what it means to Bhutan