An Unconquered Land
It is a matter of great pride to the Bhutanese that their small kingdom was never colonized. Its ancient history, which is a mixture of the oral tradition and classical literature, tells of a largely self-sufficient population which had limited contact with the outside world until the turn of the century.
Among the earliest landmarks of Bhutanese history visible today are two seventh-century monasteries, the Kyichu Lhakhang in Paro and Jambay Lhakhang in Bumthang. Both these deeply revered monasteries have been preserved and developed over the centuries.
In the eight century Guru Rimpoche (Padmasambhava), established several sacred religious sites which are important places of pilgrimage for the Buddhist world today. Among them are the Kurjey Lhakhang in Bumthang and the Taktsang (Tiger's Nest) Monastery in Paro.
Another important chapter in Bhutanese history unfolded in the early part of the 13th century when the Buddhist teacher, Phajo Drugom Zhingpo, introduced the Drukpa Kagyu school of Mahayana Buddhism in the western Bhutan. Over the years many other saints and religious figures helped shape Bhutan's history and develop its religion.