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Atmospheric Photos of Bhutan, ‘the Land of the Thunder Dragon’

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Base camp in the mountains © David Prince / Offset

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Horse wrangler packing maize kernels © David Prince / Offset

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Frozen branches with catkin © David Prince / Offset

When New York City-based photographer David Prince embarked on his journey to Bhutan, he left with no fixed ideas about what he would find, preferring instead to immerse himself totally within the lifestyles of the country’s traditional yak farmers, Buddhist monasteries, and the vast Himalayan mountains that enveloped them all.

For Prince, the trip was a personal endeavor, and the photographs he captured were merely a part of discovering and experiencing the country for himself. A couple of weeks of his time in Bhutan were spent making the Chomolhari Trek, through which visitors are able to access isolated highland communities and ancient temples overhanging cliffs. What surprised and inspired Prince was the pristine nature of both the landscape and the Bhutanese culture. In the face of an increasingly globalized world, he witnessed a kingdom that held fast to centuries-old traditions, beliefs, and ways of life. As the country becomes more exposed to global forces, says the photographer, things are beginning to change.

The people he encountered in Bhutan, notes Prince, were unfailingly kind and hospitable. He introduced himself to everyone from monks and horse herders to vendors of the betel nut, which is often chewed raw along with the betel leaf to produce very minor psychoactive effects. One of the most memorable aspects of his travels, explains Prince, was the food, a rich and flavorful medley of Bhutanese, Chinese, and Indian recipes. Ultimately, he says, Bhutan and its mountainous terrain felt like a sanctuary, unharmed and protected from the outside world.

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Different kinds of sweets and cakes © David Prince / Offset

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Children learning in traditional red robes © David Prince / Offset

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Prayer flags in the mountains © David Prince / Offset

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Religious relics in a temple © David Prince / Offset

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Religious relics in a temple © David Prince / Offset

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A freestanding stupa in the mountains © David Prince / Offset

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Cutting betel nuts © David Prince / Offset

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Small shop in an old town © David Prince / Offset

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Traditional purple cloth with yellow fringes © David Prince / Offset

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A freestanding tent on the mountains © David Prince / Offset

All photos featured in this post can be found on Offset, a new curated collection of high-end commercial and editorial photography and illustration from award-winning artists around the world. Offset is a category partner on Feature Shoot.

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