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The mythical Shangri La may be a figment of the imagination, but Thimphu comes close to the fabled description. Old monasteries and fortresses sit at their Himalayan heights, majestic reminders of the city’s ancient past. Reflecting the soul of Bhutan’s medieval culture and heritage, Thimphu is a center for the arts and crafts. It is also a living example of how ancient monastic practices can be absorbed in modern life. As the city expands, the Thimphu Structure Plan is a coordinated effort financed by the World Bank, to help maintain sustainable urban development. This is possible because the Bhutanese people revere nature with a spiritual zeal. Thimphu is the seat of the King of Bhutan and the royal residence, the Dechencholing Palace, set in the lush slopes of the Himalayas, is a huge attraction.