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Royal Family

Jigme Namgyal father of our first hereditary king of Bhutan Gongsa Ugyen Wangchuck was most powerful Trongsa Penlop of Bhutan. Prior to reunification, the Wangchuck family had governed the district of Trongsa as descendants of Dungkar Choji. They eventually overpowered other regional lords and earned the favour of the British Empire. After consolidating power, Penlop of Trongsa Sir Ugyen Wangchuck was elected hereditary King of Bhutan, or Druk Gyalpo ("Dragon King"), thus founding the royal house.

The Wangchuck dynasty centralized government power in Bhutan and established relations with the British Empire and India under its first two monarchs. The third, fourth, and fifth (current) monarchs have put the kingdom on its path toward democratization, decentralization, and development.

First King: Sir Ugyen Wangchuck 17 December 1907 – 21 August 1926
Second King: Jigme Wangchuck 21 August 1926 – 24 March 1952
Third King: Jigme Dorji Wangchuck 24 March 1952 – 24 July 1972.
Forth King: Jigme Singye Wangchuck 24 July 1972 – 09 December 2006
Fifth King: Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck 09th December 2006 (present)

Gross National Happiness
Bhutan, a country where Gross National Happiness (GNH) is more important than Gross National Product (GNP)!

Bhutan, a country described as such by Lonely Planet, "if you do visit Bhutan, you will become one of the few who have experienced the charm and magic of one of the world’s most enigmatic countries – the ‘last Shangri La.’"

Almost everything is unique about Bhutan, its beautiful and majestic land, its friendly and very hospitable people, its unique culture steeped in Buddhism and Himalayan traditions and the concept that encapsulates it all is GNH.

What is GNH? GNH is an attempt to define quality of life in more holistic and psychological terms than gross national product. The term was coined in 1972 by Bhutan's former King, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, who has opened up Bhutan to the age of modernization, soon after the demise of his father, King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. It signaled his commitment to building an economy that would serve Bhutan's unique culture based on Buddhist spiritual values.

GNH has presented the world with an alternative way to life than one of constant production and consumption. While conventional development models stress economic growth as the ultimate objective, the concept of GNH is based on the premise that true development of human society takes place when material and spiritual development occur side by side to complement and reinforce each other.

The four pillars of GNH are the promotion of sustainable development, preservation and promotion of cultural values, conservation of the natural environment, and establishment of good governance.
GNH indeed captures the core of what makes Bhutan the "most enigmatic country" in the world and why it is on the list of 100 places to see before you die!

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