BHUTAN: The King of Shangri-La

With its sparkling air, snow-capped mountains and countless whitewashed Buddhist temples, the tiny Himalayan country of Bhutan is probably the world's closest real-life equivalent to James Hilton's Shangri-La. The 1,100,000 Bhutanese, most of whom are illiterate peasants, sense that they live in a uniquely calm and contented country, which they call "the end of the rainbow land of desires." Last week Bhutan gave itself another distinction by publicly crowning the world's youngest monarch, 18-year-old King Jigme Singye Wangchuk. He will henceforth be known as "the dragon king."

Royal astrologers in Thimphu, Bhutan's...

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