To most people in the world, Bhutan is a beyul, a land so hidden that many people return blank stares when I mention the country. To the Bhutanese and the Layap themselves, Laya is a beyul within Bhutan. A land abundant with real and mythic animals: snow leopards and blue sheep, the white leopard (Thamzhi), the satyr-like donkey with a man’s lower body (Chuda) and the abominable snowman (Migoi) are everyday realities. Laya is a veiled outpost of ancient culture, backwoods tradition and the origins of modern Bhutan. The Shabdrung first fled to Laya when he escaped persecution in Tibet. According to legend, soon after his arrival in 1616 a Tibetan army came pouring over the pass. As the soldiers drew near the sacred grove a local deity called Mayap changed all the trees and rocks into fierce, well-armed warriors. The terrified Tibetans turned and ran, beaten without a single loss of life.