The kingdom of Bhutan is embarking on an ambitious project to create a “mindfulness city” that aims to cover a staggering 1,000 square kilometers, which is larger than the country of Singapore itself. This visionary initiative, known as “Gelephu Mindfulness City,” will be situated near the town of Gelephu, along Bhutan’s southern border with India. Unlike traditional cities, this unique metropolis will embrace the principles of mindfulness and prioritize personal well-being alongside economic development.

Gelephu, the chosen location for Bhutan’s mindfulness city, holds significant importance as a border crossing for Indian travelers. With its strategic positioning, the city is envisioned to serve as an economic hub and a gateway for tourists to explore the rest of the country. Bhutan’s King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck emphasized the nation’s commitment to innovation and swift implementation of plans, setting the stage for this groundbreaking project.

The masterplan for Gelephu Mindfulness City unveils a captivating vision of a low- to mid-rise metropolis built around a series of inhabitable bridges. These bridges will serve as the foundation for key features of the city, including an international airport, a university, healthcare facilities, and cultural centers. Each bridge, resembling a modern-day Tiger’s Nest, will provide a vibrant and interconnected space for residents and visitors alike.

At the heart of this futuristic city lie eleven unique neighborhoods, artfully designed to incorporate the area’s 35 rivers and streams. Inspired by the mandala concept, the neighborhoods will follow repeated patterns centered around a central public space. To adapt to the natural landscape and combat flooding, paddy fields will be created along the rivers, cascading down from the hills to the valley. This intelligent design not only safeguards against floods but also serves as biodiversity corridors, preserving the migratory routes of elephants and other wildlife.

Gelephu Mindfulness City will operate within a special administrative region, aligning with Bhutan’s renowned Gross National Happiness philosophy. In this holistic approach to development, the city will emphasize the well-being and happiness of every resident, not just economic growth. By placing personal well-being at the forefront, Bhutan seeks to create a sustainable and harmonious community.

While construction of a new international airport and dry port has already commenced, the completion date for Gelephu Mindfulness City remains uncertain. The timeline will heavily depend on the progress of business developments, highlighting the long-term nature of this visionary project. Bhutan is committed to the continual growth and evolution of the mindfulness city, ensuring its successful realization over the coming years.

Bhutan’s bold initiative to build a mindfulness city sets a new precedent for urban development. By prioritizing both economic prosperity and personal well-being, the kingdom aspires to create a harmonious and sustainable community for its citizens. Gelephu Mindfulness City’s innovative design, blending nature and architecture, presents a compelling vision for future cities around the world. As Bhutan embraces the future with open arms, this visionary project holds the potential to revolutionize the way we approach urban planning and prioritize the happiness of our residents.


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