The 50 Things You Must Do in Asia

By Hanya Yanagihara - 2013-07-23T16:27:10Z

Photograph by Thomas Kokta/Getty Images

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Learn Where Buddhism and Government Mix: Bhutan

When the dzong’s founding monk arrived here, he brought with him a sacred relic from Tibet, and the compound was attacked three times by the Tibetans, who were eager to reclaim the relic. This particular dzong served as Bhutan’s capitol until the 1960s, and still has special significance: The first king was crowned here in 1907, and all the kings since have been married here, including, last year, Jigme Khesar. The first national assembly also met here. Today, the dzong may no longer be the seat of government, but it is still the administrative headquarters of the central Buddhist body, as well as the dzong of the Punakha district (each of Bhutan’s 20 districts has its own dzong).

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