17 February 2016

Book Review: Bhutan - Himalayan Mountain Kingdom (2009) by Françoise Pommaret, *****


Shoe-horned into the Grand Himalayas, Bhutan - Land of the Peaceful Thunder Dragon - is a fiercely independent kingdom that celebrated its centenary in 2008. Isolated, charming, peaceful, and religious, the Bhutanese are a pragmatic, sensitive people who take from the West what will benefit their country and leave the rest.

The countryside is pristine, the lifestyle and culture have been preserved for centuries, and the love of life is abundant among the people. Few outsiders know Bhutan as intimately as Francoise Pommaret. This title presents a passionate introduction to Bhutanese culture and history by resident author - the world's leading expert on Bhutan.

It features literary extracts with an historical perspective. It offers information about: trekking and mountaineering in this spectacular kingdom; national symbols of Bhutan, ceremonial scarves, the Dzongkha language, chortens and mandalas; and, archery and other national sports.


Excellent primer on the country. Not a guidebook but a rich resource to deepen your understanding of Bhutan before and after a trip. Or if you never get a chance to go. There is a section on "Facts for the traveller" with practical info, but most of the book is devoted to the cultural and natural wealth of the country.

Special sections on Symbols, Chortens, Medicine, Ceremonies, Etiquette and much more will capture your interest depending on your personal preferences.

Beautiful pictures by a number of famous and less famous photographers make this a book one not to miss.

View a video on Bhutan by the author here

Here is another of her videos on cultural diversity in Bhutan

And here another on on tradition in the country

Finally on the biodiversity

In the UK buy it here

In the US buy it here

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