New Delhi: A collection of photographs capturing the essence of Bhutan, its people, wildlife, monasteries and little-known everyday life, clicked personally by its king was launched here by its new queen.

The coffee-table book "Bhutan: Through the lens of the King" comprises over 160 pictures, include a stunning photograph of Jetsun Pema Wangchuk, taken by King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck before she became his queen.

"All the photos in the book reveal his majesty's love, respect and affinity with his people...," said Pavan K Varma Indian ambassador to Bhutan who has written an introduction to the book.

"It is almost as the pictures are a magnet. Anyone who sees the book will have an irresistible urge to visit Bhutan. It is in a way our humble gift not only to Bhutan but to the people of the world," he said.

The shutterbug king trekked across his kingdom for days to meet and interact with his people and capturing the joy of relationships to the agony caused by an earthquake.

A picture of an old woman smiling bashfully as her husband kisses her at the request of the king and captured by him in a mirror was one of the favourites of Pramod Kapoor, publisher of Roli Books which has brought out the book.

"Each picture in this book has a story to tell," said Kapoor, adding the stories form the basis of the bulk of captions accompanying the photographs. The captions have been written by Malvika Singh.

A blown up picture of Queen Pema that figures on the last page of the book was presented to her during the function.

"Going by the pictures we saw of the royal couple during their visit to Rajasthan where the king is seen with his camera, I wouldn't be surprised if the next book by him is a compilation of photos of Rajasthan," said Kapoor.

The book, said Pavan K Varma, is an extension of "Bhutan: An Eye to History", a month-long photography exhibition of Bhutan from its earliest known views in 1864) to contemporary photographs taken by Wangchuck, that was held at the NGMA in December 2009.

(Agencies)