It’s hard not to feel touched by this 1954 photo from the personal album of the Queen Grandmother of Bhutan. In it, Bhutan’s third king Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, a youthful 26, prefers to gaze at his queen Ashi Kesang Choeden Wangchuck, instead of the Taj Mahal, rising mistily like a romantic vision before them. King Jigme Dorji was the Father of Modern Bhutan; ridding his people of the feudal system, creating its first parliament, high court, hospitals, and, upon China’s invasion of its Tibetan flank, forging ties with India. But what’s more likely to get us misty, is seeing the once-pristine Agra and the once-pellucid Yamuna, before heavy industries began their asphyxiating reign, and malls that looked like Lego parts walloped together by an angry child were still a distant nightmare.

Leave a Reply