Hawkeye Blog July 2016 August 03, 2016

Tucked away in the eastern Himalayas is perched the charming country of Bhutan. It's about the size of Switzerland and over 70% of its land is forested and inhabited by around 700,000 people. The majority of the Bhutanese practice Tibetan Buddhism and the red robes of monks are seen daily in towns and countryside. Prayer flags are also prevalent. These were on a hill top overlooking Thimpu, the capital of the country.

Yak herding is still seen in high rural areas though it is on the decline. An animal unique to the Himalayas is the takin, the national animal of Bhutan. They can weigh up to 700 pounds and are also called cattle chamois or gnu goat.

There are nearly 400 species of orchids found in this tiny mountainous country. The Bhutanese feel strongly about protecting their environment and carefully choosing how they modernize their country, trying to learn from the mistakes of other countries that rushed into the 21st century with dire consequences.

One of the most famous places in the country is Tiger's Nest, the Buddhist temple complex first built in 1692 on the cliff side of the Paro valley at 10,300 feet.