BHUTAN: Land of the Dragon King

Among the visitors who flew in to Katmandu for King Mahendra's coronation last week (see above) were three sturdy men wearing swords, embroidered knee-length felt boots and striped wrap-around coats. They were from tiny (18,000 sq. mi.) Bhutan, a state perched in the Himalayas between India. Sikkim and Tibet. Although King Mahendra's close neighbors, they had traveled eight days—on foot and by pony to India, and then by plane to Nepal.

In the 20th century only 20 foreigners (not including Tibetans and Nepalese) have visited the big, rambling mountain fort at Punakha that...

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