Britain’s royals trek to cliff-edge monastery in Bhutan

Saturday, Apr 16, 2016,10:36 IST By Metrovaartha A A A

Thimphu | Britain’s Prince William and his wife Kate hiked to an ancient Buddhist monastery high in the mountains of Bhutan yesterday, a day after meeting the king and queen of the tiny Himalayan nation.

The couple hiked up to the spectacular seventh-century Buddhist monastery, perched on the edge of a cliff 3,636 metres high in the Himalayas and known as the Tigers’ Nest. William’s father Prince Charles undertook the same trek in 1998 but only made it halfway because of a polo injury, stopping en route to paint a water colour of the monastery.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge had a private dinner yesterday with Bhutan’s King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and Queen Jetsun Pema. Earlier, they braved the rain to attend an open-air archery venue, where they tried their hand at the national sport.

They are spending two days in the tiny kingdom, famously the last country to get television and home to just 750,000 people, before returning to India for a visit to the Taj Mahal tomorrow. Bhutan’s Oxford-educated monarch known as the Dragon King came to the throne in 2006 after his father abdicated and agreed to cede absolute power to a parliamentary democracy.

The country held its first elections in 2008 and is known for pursuing a unique economic development model of Gross National Happiness, which aims to balance spiritual and material wealth.