Photos From a Slowly Modernizing Bhutan

The Kingdom of Bhutan, nestled between China and India, is a deeply traditional nation, and has been slow to adopt modern development. A country-wide ban on television and the internet was only lifted in 1999, and only after the previous king abdicated power in 2006 did the nation have its first parliamentary elections. Today, some aspects of the 21st century, like mobile phones, are becoming prevalent, and the Bhutanese are adopting and adapting. Reuters photographer Cathal McNaughton spent time in Bhutan over the past two years, capturing some of the interplay of new and old: “For decades Bhutan had no television, no traffic lights, and a culture that had barely changed in centuries. Today, bars dot the capital, Thimphu, set in mist-covered mountains, while teenagers crowd internet cafes to play violent video games, and men smoke and gamble in snooker halls.”

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