Margot Raggett, a freelance travel and wildlife photographer, shares her stunning images of Bhutan’s fascinating kingdom.
“When people ask me what Bhutan is like, I tell them it’s like Narnia: it’s so remote and unlike anywhere else on Earth that I’ve visited. And then I beg them to come before it’s too late, before everything changes.
“Bhutan is one of the last Kingdoms on the planet and bills itself as the happiest country on the planet, and I have to say, based on what I saw, they’re pretty much right. The country’s wealth is measured by the happiness of its people, not its GDP (Gross National Happiness), and the citizens are extremely well cared for by the state. Graffiti and garbage are non-existent, and crime is low. People are required to wear a traditional national dress at all times, resulting in an explosion of colorful outfits everywhere you go. My jeans makes me look bad.”
“I went to coincide with the famous Paro Tshechu festival, which features days of traditional dances performed for visitors who come from all over in their finest attire. Aside from the many beautiful temples and breathtaking scenery, the best thing about Bhutan for me was the warmth and beauty of the people, which I spent the majority of my time attempting to capture. It is truly a one-of-a-kind place to visit.
Monks making their way into the dzong (monastery) for the Paro Tshechu Festival
Prayer flags in the wind
Punakha Dzong, Paro
Locals walking past Punakha Dzong, Paro
A young nun at the entrance to a temple
A traditionally decorated balcony
Religious candles burn in a dzong
A joker (Atsara) mask on sale for the Paro Tshechu Festival, used to entertain the crowds
A festival-goer with her young child strapped to her back
Young boys watch a game of football from a monastery window
A giant thangka (embroidered painting) of the Guru Throngdel
Prayers held in front of the Throngdel
A little boy plays with a piece of string
A masked performer does a traditional dance at the festival