My reflections on Gelephu Mindfulness City

The plan for Gelephu Mindfulness City was unveiled on the 116th National Day for Bhutan and the vision presented by His Majesty the King, alongside with the insights shared by Bjarke Ingels Group’s (BIG) on 18th December 2023, ignited within me a renewed optimism and hope for the future of our beloved country.

Bhutan is the only independent country which practices Mahayana Buddhism as its state religion. This spiritual heritage is deeply ingrained in the fabric of Bhutanese society, and shapes every aspect of life, including governance and societal values. As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, Bhutan’s dedication to preserving and fostering this religious value stands as a beacon of cultural preservation and global harmony. Gelephu Mindfulness City, with its fusion of modern urban planning and timeless cultural principles, serves as a testament to Bhutan’s enduring commitment to upholding its spiritual legacy while embracing progress and innovation.

From the design, what struck most of us was how seamless the integration of urban and natural landscapes within the city’s framework was. The Mandala- inspired layout of Gelephu Mindfulness City with its eleven distinct neighborhoods, placed amidst the breathtaking beauty of Southern Bhutan, will emerge as an example of sustainability and biodiversity.

The emphasis on sustainability naturally resonates with me as an individual and Bhutanese. We have been brought up with reverence for our environment and cultural heritage. Knowing that locally sourced materials would be used along with eco-friendly practices, Gelephu Mindfulness City will embody a physical representation of the steadfast commitment to preserving Bhutan’s natural splendor for generations to come.

Gelephu Mindfulness City’s vision of inclusive prosperity and innovation envisions a community where traditional wisdom converges with modern technology, fostering an environment where entrepreneurship will flourish and the pursuit of knowledge will be celebrated. Due to this, as a small business owner, I can’t help but feel a sense of anticipation for the opportunities that Gelephu Mindfulness City may bring. The prospect of accessing new markets, receiving support for innovation, and contributing to the city’s vibrant tapestry fills me with excitement.

At the same time, from my experience as a business owner,  I see that moving forward, it’s crucial for Bhutan to firstly invest in giving top priority to developing 21st-century skills like coding, digital literacy, and critical thinking among Bhutanese youth. By channeling resources into education and training programs focused on these skills, Bhutan can nurture a workforce capable of leveraging technology and fostering innovation. Promoting STEM education will empower a new generation of problem-solvers ready to contribute to emerging industries such as renewable energy and biotechnology, further appealing to tech companies and investors interested in Bhutan’s educated and innovative workforce.

It is a well known fact that access to finance has always been a challenge for entrepreneurs, but Gelephu Mindfulness City could provide an alternative source of investment, attracting wealthy investors to form funds for local startups. This could enable small businesses with potential markets abroad to secure funding. To further support this initiative, the government could invest in forums like Druk Tsongrig Gatoen, promote other similar networking programs, and offer incentives such as tax breaks and streamlining regulations for efficiency to attract both local and foreign investors.

Investors eyeing Gelephu Mindfulness City have a unique opportunity to tap into rapidly growing markets in neighboring India and Bangladesh, leveraging Bhutan’s strong trade relations. With India poised as one of the fastest-growing markets, investing in Gelephu presents a strategic gateway to capitalize on this burgeoning economic landscape. Moreover, investors stand to benefit from Bhutan’s abundant natural resources, particularly its clean, green, and renewable energy sources. By harnessing these resources, businesses can develop sustainable operations while contributing to environmental conservation efforts—a win-win scenario for both investors and the planet.

And finally, I feel that modernizing and implementing sustainable practices in the agricultural sector in Gelephu MIndfulness City and in the country will be fundamental to Bhutan’s economy overall, this will not only ensure food security and boost rural livelihoods but also attract investors keen on sustainable agriculture and environmental conservation efforts. Ultimately, by prioritizing education, entrepreneurship, and sustainable agriculture, Bhutan can position itself as an attractive investment hub, driving long-term economic growth, social progress, and environmental stewardship.


The introduction of Gelephu Mindfulness City doesn’t just mark the commencement of a fresh chapter in Bhutan’s progress, but also stands as a testament to our resilience, our legacy, and our resolute commitment to shaping a brighter tomorrow. Yet beyond that, Gelephu Mindfulness City serves as a clarion call—an urging to adopt business practices grounded in values, to prioritize sustainability and societal impact, and to contribute to the collective welfare. In a world where unchecked greed leads to irreversible environmental degradation and a disregard for ethical wealth creation, I trust that this model of sustainable development will serve as an inspiration for other nations. Bhutan’s illustrious past provides a solid foundation, yet our sights are firmly set on the future. As we gaze forward, we acknowledge the significance of preserving our heritage while also forging new paths for forthcoming generations. This momentous juncture demands evolution as we endeavor to provide opportunities that align with the ambitions of our youth, ensuring that their aspirations can be realized within our borders.


Now, as we embark on this journey together, let us carry forward the spirit of mindfulness, compassion, and harmony that defines us as Bhutanese. Together, let us shape a future where prosperity is measured not only in economic terms but in the richness of our culture, the health of our environment, and the happiness of our people.

Please note that all images have been obtained from the BIG website.