Isolated from the outside world for centuries, the tiny Kingdom of Bhutan measures its progress in Gross National Happiness and mass tourism is not welcome. Its Buddhist philosophy, ancient monasteries and pristine environment create a unique travel destination, which delights the mind, body and spirit. It is the last remaining Mahayana Buddhist kingdom in the world and the only Kingdom left in the Himalayas today. Initially influenced by Tibetan civilization, but over time it has successfully developed its own cultural identity. The strict policy of seclusion operated by the Bhutanese Government has ensured the culture has been preserved in its purist form. This culture is unique in its characteristics and achievements in architecture, textiles and other crafts; and still remains distinct from other Himalayan areas.
Zara is an independent art consultant, lecturer, tour guide and exhibition curator with specialist knowledge of Buddhist art; focusing on the art and culture of Tibet and the Himalayas.
Initially based at the Victoria & Albert Museum, with general responsibility for the Tibetan, Himalayan and Burmese Collections (1974-81); Zara was then affiliated with the Central Asian Department at Bonn University cataloguing the Tibetan and Mongolian collections of all UK Museums and private collections, part of a larger cataloguing project throughout Europe (1981-88) and was the Assistant Projects Director in Europe for the Orient Foundation (1984-5).
She co-edited “Masterpieces of Mongolian Art; Vol 1” (published in 2011) and has contributed articles for art and travel publications, and journals specialising in Buddhist art and culture. She has held the post of Art consultant for several Museums and Galleries and has also curated several exhibitions.