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During a trip to Bhutan, there’s more than enough to marvel at — the monasteries, the hand-painted motifs and the beautiful landscapes. Very soon after getting there though, you’ll also notice the outfits and the fact that almost everyone you see, is in local clothing. Even with the cold, locals prefer to dress in traditional clothing. During the course of your trip, appreciate for the outfits – a gho worn by men and kira worn by women – grows. The simply draped clothing, is thick but doesn’t offer much protection from the cold, and yet most locals seem unperturbed by the chillier weather, and the lack of layering in their daily life.

As a result, after just a day or two in the country, there’s a natural curiosity about the garment and the pride with which locals wear it. The Royal Academy of Textiles sits in the heart of Thimpu, in a building that combines traditional Bhutanese design elements – especially the decorative wood painting and carving — those contrasts with the glass curtain walls and an expansive courtyard.

Opened in 2005 under the patronage of Bhutan’s Queen Mother – Sangay Choden Wangchuck – the academy is a showcase for traditional outfits and educates visitors about their history while also working towards research and conservation.