We visited Bhutan in 2012 and came back changed forever. This landlocked country is a veritable ShangriLa. Beautiful monasteries perched precariously on mountainsides, vibrant prayer flags flapping in the wind, beautiful festivals that steal your heart and most importantly the content smiling faces of the people made this trip unforgettable!

It is not without reason that Bhutan was voted the Happiest Nation in Asia. The culture, geography and people of this nation are hospitable and welcoming in more ways than one. Everywhere you go, your spirits lift seeing the potpourri of colour, sight and sound. The tranquillity of Buddhist monasteries is all pervasive. From infants to the elderly, all you see are happy faces. And it is these faces that we want to present in this Photo feature.

We were fortunate to be there during the Jambay Lhakhang Festival in Bumthal. This yearly festival or Tsechu is one of the best ways to experience the ancient culture of Bhutan. Tsechus are Buddhist festivals that honour Guru Rinpoche, the saint who brought Buddhism to Bhutan. Most Tsechus are a time of great pageantry and festivity with unique masked dances.

Jambay Lhakhang is one of the oldest temples in Bhutan. It was founded by Songtsen Gampo, a Tibetan King in the 7th century AD. It is said that the King had to build 108 temples known as Thadhul- Yangdhul (temples on and across the border) in one day to subdue a demoness that was residing in the Himalayas. Jambay Lhakhang is one of the two temples built in Bhutan on that day. The other one is located in Paro. Legend has it that Guru Rimpoche visited the site several times which makes it an exceptionally sacred place. The Jambay Lhakhang Festival is one of the most spectacular festivals of Bhutan and is most popular for the Fire Dance ceremony and the Naked Dance ceremony.

Bumthang is famous for producing wheat, buckwheat, dairy products, honey, apples, potatoes and rice. In fact, the name Bumthang itself derives from ‘Bumpa’ (a vessel for Holy water) and ‘Thang’(field) referring to the shape and nature of the valley. The people of Bumthang are hard working, religious and exceptionally photogenic (as you can see in our pictures)!

We wholeheartedly recommend visiting Bhutan if you are looking to capture a slice of humanity and spirituality with a dash of colour and culture.

Tashi delek (best wishes) from PhotoIndia!