Bhutan has a ban on smoking, tattoos, and the sale and consumption of alcohol on Tuesdays. “Happiness is when you make something to share with others,” he replies, rather profoundly, before changing the topic to discuss his love of David Beckham. 1. © 2021 One World Education. Everything—from governance and economic development to cultural preservation and environmental conservation—is decided according to this holistic tenet, designed to measure and protect the collective happiness and wellbeing of the population. Tiger’s Nest Monastery, Paro Valley. Bhutan is a country of mountains and valleys, and the climate varies with elevation. The country is known for being really small and for being really happy. My father had been invited by the Chief Justice of Bhutan to help them write their judicial laws. Bhutan’s unique strategy has presented a solution to globalization. Furthermore, negative statistics such as the rise in cases of Aids and tuberculosis are suppressed. Even with globalization, Bhutan has been able to preserve their Buddhist traditions, and they remain the last standing Buddhist Kingdom. We embark on another tour around the stupa. Can't find what you’re looking for? Ironically, though, Bhutan ranked 97 out of 156 on the 2018 World Happiness Report although they attribute this to the survey measuring happiness only via material wealth. Modeling Bhutan on a development path that was more than material well-being was the brainchild of the country's fourth king, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, who ascended to the throne in 1972. The government gives subsidies to Buddhist monasteries, shrines, monks and other Buddhist programs. A viable philosophy or government propaganda? When the UN General Assembly passed the resolution in 2011, it praised Bhutan and urged other members to follow suit. Ever visited a country which gauges its progress with Gross National Happiness? Instead of wealth this tiny country nestled among the breathtaking Himalayas was closed off for tourism until the 1970s apart from its natural beauty and Mystic spirituality, but is home to ancient monuments, dramatic landscapes and … The society and culture, as well as the economy, become linked to the rest of the world and the ideas of the world flow into that country, often destroying culture. Bhutan - Greenest - Happiest - Country 을(를) 무료로 감상하려면 Click now를 클릭하십시오! The hidden joy of travel? Though a developing country’s GDP might benefit from globalization, does its Gross National Happiness? It’s a country where happiness, chivalry, gentleness, and richness have found their permanent residency. It’s the ever last great Himalayan Kingdom. This country is Bhutan, “Land Of The Thunder Dragon.” Bhutan is located in South Asia and is landlocked between India, Tibet, China, and Nepal. Is Bhutan the happiest place ... story in the state-run Kuensel newspaper claimed a survey had revealed people from the Haa district in the west of the country were apparently the happiest. HAPPIEST COUNTRY ON EARTH. RELATED: Could travel really be the best medicine? It raises questions on whether GNH is actually a viable philosophy or just propaganda. Could travel really be the best medicine? ‘Gifted’ to the people by former King Jigme Singye Wangchuck in 2008, the philosophy, unique to the Land of the Thunder Dragon, is put into practice using a 30-page questionnaire that delves into the nine domains that are believed to contribute to a person’s happiness —psychological wellbeing, health, education, time use, cultural diversity and resilience, good governance, community vitality, ecological diversity, and resilience and living standards. Participants are asked questions, such as: How often do you recite prayers or meditate? To the south, Bhutan is landlocked by India, and to the North, it's buffered by the mighty Himalaya. Agarwala (2003). First was the flight to Paro, with the added bonus of flying over the Himalayas and a superb view of Mount Everest in full winter sunshine. In many ways, GNH seems a natural extension of the Mahayana Buddhism that 75 per cent of the population follows. This is a country best known for its amazing spiritual buildings, rich culture, and spectacular peaks and valleys. reserved. Happiness is a slippery state of being—by its very nature, it comes and goes. Top: Emma Thomson; Bottom: Scott A. Woodward, Left: Caterina Sanders; Right: Ricken Patel. The mountains are extremely cold and snowy, but it is humid and subtropical in the hills, and temperate in the valleys. Bhutan is the last standing Buddhist Kingdom in the World and, until recently, has preserved much of their culture since the 17th century by avoiding globalization and staying isolated from the world. In many cases, developing nations lose their cultures, origins, and way of life, languages, as well as natural resources to globalization. Our car trips through Bhutan involved many stops for eating and site seeing, but also puking. We are banking on … Bhutan, renowned world-wide for pioneering the concept of “Gross National Happiness” as an alternative to the internationally used concept“Gross National Product”, is a country Located in the Eastern Himalayas, bordered by China in the north and India in the south. One component of Gross National Happiness is cultural preservation and environmental conservation such as Tiger’s Nest monastery, beautifully preserved in the country’s lush valleys and a popular tourist site. Bhutan has continually been ranked as the happiest country in all of Asia, and the eighth Happiest Country in the world according to Business Week. Its landscape is mountainous, with peaks reaching … How do they do it? Bhutan is the only Buddhist Kingdom still in the world, and one where cell phones and cable television are present. The country boasts such beautiful places to visit like Paro, Punakha and Wangdue that are adorned with green rolling hills, meadows, paddy fields, rivers, and lakes. “Plus, when we speak of happiness, it’s for all the people, not just the individual,” says Sonam. Bhutan: What it means to be happy in the ‘happiest country’ We are in the birthplace of ‘gross national happiness’ to find out how a country measures happiness. How does Bhutan measure happiness. Randy Durband, CEO of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, agrees: “For practical reasons, few nations could follow their model because of Bhutan’s dramatic isolation. We have a population that is highly dependent on the agricultural sector. It is no news either that Bhutan is known as the happiest country in the world. During my final days in Bhutan, I lodge at a homestay in the remote Haa Valley. Bhutan is the only Buddhist Kingdom in the world; Mahayana Buddhism is the official religion of Bhutan. Lagom: Is this the secret to Swedish happiness? 10-year-old Jigme (pictured) claims happiness is when you make something to share with others. But over the past ten years globalization has begun to change in Bhutan, but things remain perfectly balanced. Is it worth giving up culture for a better economy? Hand-painted boulders remind drivers to “peep peep, don’t sleep,” and, a few hundred meters later, “mountain of pleasure, if you drive with leisure.” And instead of saying ‘back off’, the bumper sticker of the truck in front of us politely reads: “Don’t kiss me.”. While the concept of happiness should extend to all the people, not just the individual, the GNH Survey Report notes that, “Farmers are less happy than other professions,” which highlights something of a disconnect between perception and reality. Internet, television, and western dress were banned from the country up until ten years ago. Bhutan is famously the only country in the world to rank Gyalyong Gakid Palzom, or Gross National Happiness (GNH), above GDP. The windy roads through the beautiful mountains and valleys were not always “beautiful.”. Bhutan has found the perfect balance. Unlike other parts of the world where development is gauged by per capita income, in Bhutan the development index is monitored by a concept, unique to Bhutan only, namely the Gross National Happiness, where the country’s development is measured in terms of citizen’s "happiness". How satisfied are you with the relationship you have with your immediate family members? Even in such a delicate region, between two giants, the country serves as a haven of peace for all its inhabitants. On a visit to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan, I found myself sitting across from a man named Karma Ura, spilling my guts. The desire to own new technology tests the theory that you should be happy with what you have. Bhutan is not just any regular country. That founded its banking system ‘BoB’ (Bank of Bhutan) in 1968. For men, that means the knee-length gho (robe), and the sari-style kira (skirt) and tego (jacket) for women. But that’s still what comes to mind when most of us think of the country. Trekking to sublime mountains, exploring the colorful villages, meditating inside the peaceful monasteries, and learning the history of the dzongs—there are plenty of things to do in Bhutan that are sure to leave you mesmerized. Bhutan is small, about the size of Switzerland, and similarly mountainous “though more geographically remote. In the 1990s, around 100,000 Hindu Nepalese—about 28 per cent of the population—were forcibly expelled from Bhutan after pushback over the 1989 royal decree made it mandatory to wear the national costume. ISBN 978-81-7824-008-4. This was very telling to me – that the Prince of Bhutan would play basketball with kids at the local court, showing how Bhutan was still a small isolated world, where a Prince was safe to walk the streets and do as he pleased. 4 Minute Read In many ways, they’re richer than us because their lifestyle provides everything they need.” And yet the GNH Survey Report noted: “Farmers are less happy than other professions,” highlighting something of a disconnect between perception and reality. Trying to achieve it on a countrywide scale, then, may seem naïve; even impossible. One boy who seemed to be everyone’s center of attention, who was very good at basketball, ended up making friends with me. Our group gathered in Delhi to start our adventure in Bhutan. One day, my mom took me to play basketball at the local court. Read more In 2007, Bhutan had the second fastest growing GDP in the world, at the same time as maintaining their environment and cultural identity. Everest and K2, the two highest mountains in the world. When in Bhutan, the happiest country in the world! Try using these tags: It’s not easy determining the state of citizens’ happiness, but that’s the aim in Bhutan. With a total area of 38,394 km 2, Bhutan is one of the smallest countries in the world.Bhutan is the only independent Buddhist Kingdom in the Himalayas. Bhutan didn't become the "happiest nation in the world" overnight, and this is perhaps in itself a misleading statement - how can you reduce something so subjective by quantifying it? In 2004, I lived in Bhutan for a month at the time the King was transitioning the government to a democracy. World's Happiest Country Also Has No Carbon Emissions The small kingdom of Bhutan could be a model for countries on the front lines of climate change. Perhaps GNH is better defined as ‘development with values’.”. And how free do you feel to express your ideas and opinions? Perhaps a small destination could follow it, but not entire nations.” Of course, happiness is a slippery state of being—by its very nature, it comes and goes. This tiny Himalayan country, which only opened its doors for outsiders in the 1970s, is popular worldwide for its long history of splendid isolation and reputation for being the happiest country in the world. * They manage spiritual and material happiness equally. The Bhutanese government argues the philosophy acts as ‘a compass towards a just and harmonious society’ and the questionnaire identifies gaps in happiness—such as that men tend to be happier than women, and urban, educated residents tend to be happier than rural citizens—and where they can improve amenities to re-address the balance. Bhutan is famously the only country in the world to rank Gyalyong Gakid Palzom, or Gross National Happiness (GNH), above GDP. Welcome to Bhutan: the Happiest Country on Earth! Bhutan is the only country in the world that has a ‘GNH.’ You may think GNH is just another statistically based term with no real life application, but it refers to “Gross National Happiness.” The process of measuring GNH began when Bhutan opened up to globalization. “The poorer farmers don’t mind because the service they provide supports the community. For those who might not be knowing , Bhutan is a country is southeast Asia that is just south of China . Buddhists also are very influential politically with a guaranteed voice in public policy. Everything—from governance and economic development to cultural preservation and environmental conservation—is decided according to this holistic tenet, designed to measure and protect the collective happiness and wellbeing of the population. Where better to escape the rigours of the British winter and, should you feel so inclined, the festive season, than the happiest country on Earth, Bhutan? Some call Bhutan the “Switzerland of Asia” because of its size, shape and location in the mountains. While gross national happiness is said to have increased since the last census, only 0.9 per cent are being surveyed, raising the question as to whether it’s actually a viable philosophy or just propaganda. The country then celebrated their newborn Prince by planting another 108,000 trees. Sceptics may accuse Bhutan of practising rose-tinted politics, yet their government has never denied the importance of GDP—rather, they rearranged its position in the hierarchy of needs. As Sonam freely admits: “It’s complicated, but at least they’re trying a new model.” And in today’s increasingly fractured political and social landscape, perhaps this is an argument that’s worth having. In recent years, internet, cable television, cell phones, as well as many other modern technologies and ideas have become a part of Bhutan, but their desire to preserve of cultural values, as well as the desire to protect the environment has remained high. Tourist flocking to the happiest country in the world are lured by its natural beauty, old monasteries, its colorful festivals, and warm Bhutanese hospitality. Bhutan is often praised for measuring its worth by citizens’ happiness alongside its economy, but can a country really calculate happiness—and if so, how? Washington, DC 20008. World's Happiest Country "Bhutan" About. He promises to “maintain a stance of protection against the worst aspects of globalization, maintaining the ‘Gross National Happiness.’ But Jigme himself is no stranger to globalization. As soon as the plane touched down in Bhutan, the beautiful landscape overwhelmed me. Bhutan's constitution specifies that at least 60% of the country must remain forested, making it the only country in the world that absorbs more carbon than it emits. Bad news always beats good to the headlines, and so too is it easier to pick holes in and argue about a fledgling do-good philosophy. I ask what happiness means to him. In 2007, the country had the second-fastest-growing GDP in the world. Over two thirds of the people are Buddhist, and Buddhism is supported by the government both politically and economically. The Kingdom of Bhutan is known as the world’s happiest country and it’s easy to see why. Nest and Wings. The government actually produces the Gross National Happiness index each year as a testament to how happy the people are of Bhutan. India, Bhutan has been consistently known to be the world's happiest place, and it is a unique country that measures its progress based on happiness. Every brick of this magnificent country speaks of ambiguity and enchantment. The older generation are dropped off at the Memorial Stupa in Thimphu where they spin the prayer wheels and tap their prayer beads. We know you're busy, so we'll only send you two emails a month. But can Bhutan share its model with other nations? Emma Thomson is an award-winning travel writer and guidebook author who often covers countries recovering from natural disaster or political upheaval to help travelers regain trust in these places. Bhutan has done an amazing job of finding this balance. “It becomes a community which makes them happy,” says Sonam. In 2008, in Bhutan’s first democratic election, 28-year-old Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck was elected president of Bhutan. But as I flew into Bhutan, I realized that the mountains I saw out of the window of the tiny shaky plane were Mt. It's been decades since the fourth king of Bhutan came up with the notion of gross national happiness. Also, 70% of Bhutan is covered with forest, so you know, the people of Bhutan are never away from the pristine nature, which not only keeps them happy but also healthy. I ask Sonam how happy he thinks his fellow countrymen are. In 2007, Bhutan had the second fastest growing GDP in the world, at the same time as maintaining their environment and cultural identity. Bhutan is not the happiest country in the world. The Bhutanese people live such a happy life nestled away in one of the last great Himalayan kingdoms . Bhutan’s economy and culture are growing and changing. Who can read more than that, anyway? This is a country that only built its first road, established its postal service and migrated formal education from the monasteries to the classroom in the 1960s. All rights Jigme, my host’s 10-year-old nephew, shows me how to whizz down the wooden bannisters and later, at dinner, he shuffles across the wooden floorboards to sit next to me. 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