“Gross National Happiness is more important than Gross National Product” so said the 4th King of Bhutan in 1972. One wonders whether King Jigme Singye Wangchuck knew that these words would travel around the world inspiring new development philosophies, academic enquiry, and international conferences on Gross National Happiness.
Gross National Happiness (GNH)is an indigenous development philosophy inspired by Bhutan’s Buddhist roots that requires that all government policy be viewed holistically in terms of its benefit and happiness of the people of Bhutan. One concrete example of the integration of GNH principles into policy is Bhutan’s staunch foreign investment policy which protects Bhutan from being taken over by large foreign companies. You will not see any international fast food chains in Bhutan. Likewise GNH informs environmental policy with 70% of natural forest being preserved forever and the strong focus on renewable energy such as hydropower. Bhutan is perhaps one of the only carbon neutral (perhaps negative) countries in the world.
Himalayan Dragon Tours & Treks offers special GNH themed tours to explore first-hand how Bhutan is striving to integrate happiness with development through the “Nine Pillars of GNH”.
The 4 Pillars of GNH:
• Pillar 1: Sustainable and Equitable Socio- Economic Development
• Pillar 2: Conservation of the Environment
• Pillar 3: Preservation and Promotion of Culture
• Pillar 4: Good Governance
Contact Us if you are interested in GNH tours that include visits to GNH inspired schools (mindfulness meditation is part of the curriculum as well as a “zero plastic wrap” food policy), meetings with government officials responsible for implementing GNH and villages and districts that have embraced GNH.