Wednesday, July 17, 2024

100 years of Bhutanese coverage in National Geographic

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From the Office of Her Majesty The Gyaltsuen of Bhutan.


On 17 February 2015, Her Majesty The Gyaltsuen (Dragon Queen Consort of Bhutan) attended National Geographic Society’s celebration marking 100 years of coverage of Bhutan by its magazine.

Addressing the gathering, Her Majesty said that the essence of what was observed of Bhutan by the magazine a hundred years ago still remains. “In 1914, John Claude White’s fluent observations of our country, detailed in the April issue of the National Geographic Magazine,

unveiled the intricacies of our unfamiliar and mysterious land and people to the rest of the world,” Her Majesty said. “Bhutan has, across the century, made unique progress as a Nation. We have continually fortified the values of our traditions and cultural heritage.”

“Today, we move forward on the philosophy of “Gross National Happiness” and strive for sustainable development. We are bound by duty to ensure the resilience of our cultural values and our pristine natural environment, which remains indispensable in our pursuit of collective happiness. In Bhutan, we are always guided by our past; our rich traditions and culture, so fundamentally important for our future, binds us across time and generations.”

Her Majesty commended the National Geographic society for their noble efforts, since its inception in 1888, to explore and bring to light the human and physical geography of our world.


The National Geographic magazine in 1914 published an article in its April edition, written by John Claude White, a political officer of British-India stationed in Sikkim. Accompanied by fabulous images, the article, titled “Castles in the Air: Experiences and Journeys in Unknown Bhutan” documented White’s experiences in Bhutan, which he visited between 1905 to 1907. The coverage was historically significant, as it provided insights into Bhutan from a foreign perspective, and for the first time, presented images of a largely unknown Bhutan to the western world.

On 21 February 2015, The Gyaltsuen’s husband’s, His Majesty the 5th Druk Gyalpo (Dragon King) of Bhutan, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, fêted his 35th birthday. India’s Prime Minister hail the monarch’s birthday through tweeter.

Later this year large celebrations are expected to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the 4th Druk Gyapo, King-Father Jigme Singye Wangchuck who was born on 11 November 1955.


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