Ratheesh KrishnaVadhyar (ratheesh) wrote,
Ratheesh KrishnaVadhyar
ratheesh

The Kingdom at the Centre of the World

In the book The Kingdom at the Centre of the World - Journeys into Bhutan, author Omair Ahmad narrates the political history of Bhutan.

He Starts with story (which is a mix of folktales, mythology and history) of Guru Padmasambhava's travels that established Buddishm in the region in the eighth century. Then the book goes on to talk briefly about the three saints associated with Bhutan's history - Milarepa, "the saint of Songs", Thangtong Gyalop, "the saint of Bridges", and Drukpa Kunley, "the saint of Madness" before going into a detailed story of Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, who united and established the Bhutanese nation in seventeenth century, and also led a few wars with Tibet, which asserted the entity of Bhutan as an independent nation . Then we read about the Black Regent, Jigme Namgyal, who had fought with British in the eighteenth century, and set the foundations for the Wangchuk dynasty, in which his son became the first king in 1907. In the last sections, the author delves into the 100+ years of rule by the Wangchuk kings, modernization of the country and challenges it faced in different fronts, etc.

The author has also included a few brief travel narratives of his jeep trips to remote places of Bhutan, to explore some of the key places associated with its history, and also some of his personal experiences in witnessing a few important events of Bhutan, like the 100th National Day in 2007 and the coronation of the fifth Wangchuk king in 2008. It is a very well written book, and I felt that it would have been good to add photographs of people and places too in the book.
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