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About Bhutan

About Bhutan

Total Land area covered : 38,394 square kilometers.
Forest area covered: 72.5 %.
Altitude: between 240 meters and 7541 metres above sea level.
Population: 752,700.
Languages spoken: Official language “Dzongkha”, English widely spoken by the citizen of the country.
Religion: Tantric of Mahayana Buddhism and Hinduism
Currency: Ngultrum (equal to Indian Rupee).

About Bhutan History

chorten_kingdom-of-BhutanThe ancient period of about Bhutan that begins from the beginning till the 8th century AD was with rural human settlement, domestication of animals, agriculture, the first advent of Buddhism and subsequent buildings of Buddhist temples of about Bhutan.

The visit of second Buddha Guru Rimpoche Padmasambhava and other Buddhists saints and scholars from India and Tibet marked the medieval about Bhutan. Emergence of ruling clans and development of arts and architecture were also seen during this period.

About Bhutan’s first ruler (both monastic and civil) Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, a leader of the Drukpa sect, came to Bhutan in 17th century. He introduced the dual system of Government. After Ngawang Namgyal’s death, successors became victims of intrigues and rivalries. The instability continued till the early 20th century of about Bhutan.

About Bhutan’s modern period began with the establishment of monarchy in Bhutan. The powerful about Bhutan’s Chief, Ugyen Wangchuk was crowned as the first hereditary King of Bhutan in 1907. About Bhutan’s self-imposed policy of isolation continued till the reign of the third king Jigme Dorji Wangchuk. He decided to shed this age-old policy and introduced the country to the outside world, bringing the country into the international mainstream.

Though the country is known as Bhutan to the outside world, to Bhutanese it has been known as Druk Yul ‘Land of the Thunder Dragon’. The people call themselves Drukpas.

About Bhutan Geography

Bhutan is a small sovereign country hidden in the Eastern Himalayan Mountains between the China to the north and the India in the south. The area of 38,394sq km with the longitude of 88, 45’ and 92 10’ east and latitude of 26 40’ and 28 15; in the north. About Bhutan is Mountainous country from the little above the sea level to High Himalayan Mountains of 7, 600m in the north with varying climatic conditions ranging from hot humid to alpine

About Bhutan’s population is 752,700. Comprising of four main ethic groups namely Sharchop in the eastern region, Kheng in the central and partly in southern region, Lhotshampa in the southern region, Ngalong in the north western regions of the country. These four groups of people become a Drukpa.

 About Bhutan Climate

About Bhutan climate experiences varied climatic conditions, depending upon different altitudes and seasons. To the south of Bhutan is hot and humid, while the up hills and Mountains towards the north are under perpetual snow. Rainfall can differ within relative short distance due to rain shadow effects. We do have four seasons which are spring, summer, autumn, and winter. The month of July is the heavy rainfall and Bhutanese believe that in September there will be a festival called Thrue (blessed rainy day), the rainy season ends. Spring and autumn is great seasons to travel tourist in the kingdom of Bhutan. In winter the temperature drops down to minus because of snowfalls. Days are normally hot and night cold.

About Bhutan Economy

About Bhutan economy is predominantly agrarian. About Bhutan 75% of the population depends on subsistence farming and livestock rearing. The food crops are rice, maize, millet, wheat, buckwheat and barley. The cash crops include apples, oranges, potatoes, cardamom and mustard.

About Bhutan exports agro products like apples, oranges, mushrooms, canned fruit and jams. About Bhutan exports forestry products like timber and lemon grass oil. Cement, ferro alloys, calcium carbide, coal and gypsum are also exported.

About Bhutan Tourism is the largest foreign exchange earner. About Bhutan largest source of earning is the hydroelectric power. It contributes about 25% of the government revenue. Bhutan also exports postage stamps.

About Bhutan People & Dress

About Bhutan people can be classified into three main ethnic groups: About Bhutan Sharchops, who live in east of the country, are believed to be the earliest inhabitants of Bhutan. They are Indo-Mongoloid origin and appear closely related to the inhabitants of northeast India and northern Burma. About Bhutan Ngalongs are of Tibetan descendant migrated to Bhutan in the 9th century and settled west of the country. About Bhutan third groups Lhotsampas are the Nepali origin that settled in the foothills of southern Bhutan in mid 19th century. There are other minority groups in Bhutan such as Layap, Brokpa, Doya, Lhopu, Dhakpa and Lepcha.

The men wear a knee-length garment called ‘Gho’ which resembles the Scottish Kilt. The women wear a long robe ‘Kira’, which is wrapped around the body covering it from neck to ankle. Women usually wear heavy silver and gold necklaces with coral, turquoise and other precious stones. Rings and earrings decorated with pearls and turquoise are also popular.

 About Bhutan Language

The national language about Bhutan is Dzongkha, which is widely spoken in western region. The eastern region of the country speak Sharchop, where as the people in the south speak Nepali.

English has been used as the medium of instructions in schools and institutes. The country’s national newspaper Kuensel is written in English, Dzongkha and Nepali.

About Bhutan Food & Drink

About Bhutan staple food  is rice and vegetables with abundant chillies. Bhutanese eat incredible amount of chillies. It is used as vegetable rather than as spices. Most Bhutanese prefer ‘Emadatse’ a dish made entirely of chillies mixed with cheese.

Meat is widely eaten in Bhutan. Common meat includes pork, beef, chicken, fish and yak meat. The Bhutanese also eat a variety of vegetables, including potatoes, fern, spinach, cabbage, cauliflower, beans and mushrooms.

In central Bhutan, buckwheat is cultivated as one of the main cereals. The rice is not grown due to high altitude. The Bumthang region is famous for its buckwheat pancakes. The Bhutanese are fond of taking ‘suja’ (butter tea) and ‘ara’, an alcohol distilled from the brewery of locally produced rice, wheat, maize or corn. Drinks are also used as a part of offerings while performing ceremonies on different occasions.

About Bhutan Entertainment & Sports 

About Bhutan national sport is archery. The bows and arrows are made up of special kind of bamboo. Bhutanese also popularly use imported Hoyt brand bows.

Bhutanese also play western sports like soccer, basketball and volleyball. Basketball has become popular especially among youths and students. Badminton, golf, table tennis, cricket, tennis and taekondo are also played.

The modern entertainments such as cinema, discotheques and snooker parlours have liberally sprung up in the larger towns. These places are often being flocked by students, businessmen and civil servants.

About Bhutan Festivals

About Bhutan annual festival is called ‘Tshechu’. It is one of the most exciting experiences that the visitor can have in Bhutan. It is celebrated in honour of second Buddha Guru Padmasambhava who visited Bhutan in 7th century.

During the Tshechu, the monks and laymen perform mask dances and the religious skits. It is also the time for the people to socialize and rejoice. Men, women and children are attired in their best silk and brocade, and intricately woven colourful ghos and kiras.

In some festivals you can witness the unveiling of a “thongdrel,” (a giant appliquéd thangka) that is hung from a wall in the Dzong’s courtyard. Punakha Dzong has the largest thongdrel in Bhutan.

About Bhutan Marriages

Bhutanese followed arranged marriage in olden days. Today the love marriages are common. There is no child marriage in Bhutan.

About Bhutan marriage can either be an informal affair or complicated ceremonies depending upon the family status. The wedding ceremony ends in dancing and feasting.

About Bhutan young people start living together and declare themselves married and quite often it is not even announced verbally. There is no dowry in Bhutan. But in some remote regions there is a system of giving wine, grains and slaughtered pigs as gifts to the girl’s parents. About Bhutan people living in the south follow Hindu system of marriage.

About Bhutan Art & Architecture

About Bhutan traditional Bhutanese arts and architecture are unique. They are highly decorative and ornamental. About Bhutan traditional Bhutanese architecture has no nails or iron bars.

About Bhutan architectural grandeur is exhibited in the form of Dzongs, monasteries, temples, chortens and traditional Bhutanese houses. About Bhutan Dzong architecture is one of the most elegant and harmonious in the world. About Bhutan genius of Bhutanese art is best expressed in frescoes and paintings. About Bhutan’s thangkas and mandala depict an artistic skill and a rare exquisite fineness. About Bhutan mandala or mystic circle represents the Buddhist concept of cosmogony of the universe. The statues are made of wood, stones, a bronze, coral, pearl and other expensive material, which depicts fine craftsmanship of the Bhutanese artists.

About Bhutan Flora & Fauna

About Bhutan 72% of its area covered under forest. About Bhutan’s 5000 species of plants grow in Bhutan. These include 300 species of medicinal plants, over 50 species of rhododendron and 600 species of orchids.

About Bhutan great variety of fauna includes: elephants, tigers, buffalo, one horned rhinoceros (rhinoceros unicornis), leopards (panthara pardus), gaur, red pandas, langur monkeys, wild boar, deer, white-collared black bears, yaks (bos gruniens), tahr (hemitragus jemlahicus) and goral (naemorhedus goral). Brown trout and local fishes are found in northern rivers and lakes, while in the south the rivers are full of masheer.

About Bhutan rare and exotic species found in Bhutan are: golden langur (found only in Bhutan), pangolin, pygmy hog, snow leopard, red pandas, wild buffalo, monal peasant, peacock peasant, raven, rufous-necked hornbill, white-bellied heron, common shelduck, ruddy duck, black necked crane, golden masheer, spotted deer, leopard, leopard cat, himalayan black bear, serow, snow leopard, takin, musk deer, himalayan brown bear, himalayan marten, tiger, hornbills, pheasants, mountain goats and timid blue sheep.

About Bhutan 675 species of birds have been recorded in Bhutan and more than 16 different species of birds are included in the lists of endangered species

About Bhutan People and beliefs

About Bhutan ancient history is in mystery. About Bhutan most documents were either lost or perished in devastating earthquakes and fire. Whatever documented evidence that has survived in some of its Dzongs confirms the establishment of a Dual System of Government by the first ruler of Bhutan -Shabdrung Nawang Namgyel who unified the country under the Drukpa School of Mahayana Buddhism. Shabdrung Nawang Namgyel passed away in the 17th century. Although his death was kept secret for many years, Bhutan entered into a period of conflict and turmoil for the next couple of centuries. About Bhutan “Penlops” that were self styled governors of different regions were constantly engaged in incessant fighting against one another in a bid to exert their political influence over the territories of their rivals to expand their sphere of control. Prominent among them were the Trongsa and the Paro Penlops, the two most powerful clans who exercised equal control over each half of the territory of Bhutan. Other regional powerful families tended to side with one or the other.

At the end of the 19th century AD, Bhutan’s Trongsa Penlop who controlled central and eastern Bhutan defeated the Paro Penlop who controlled the western province in a historic battle fought in the plains of Changlimithang below Thimphu. The victorious Trongsa Penlop – Sir Ugyen Wangchuk was unanimously elected the first hereditary King of unified Bhutan on 17 December 1907 by the representatives of the powerful clergy, civil servants and prominent members of society. Sir Ugyen Wangchuk was accorded the title of Knight Commander of the British Empire for his tacit powers of negotiation and tactful diplomatic skills. About Bhutan visionary leader of the Bhutanese people further strengthened the country by laying the foundations of a strong central authority that has governed the country ever since. His successors continue to provide a stable and progressive system of governance to the country. Bhutan is one of the fastest and most rapidly developing nations prospering under the dynamic leadership of His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuk, the fourth hereditary monarch of Bhutan, who ruled since 1972 who is well loved and respected not only by the Bhutanese people, but people all over the globe.

Abut Bhutan 70 % of the population depend upon an agrarian life style. The people know of real peace, unhampered by the fast life that marks modernity.

About Bhutan society is egalitarian in its disposition. Every inhabitant of the country wear national dress that is finely woven from multi colored, vibrant hued wool, cotton or silk. About Bhutan’s men attire is called “Gho” and ladies dress is called “Kira”. The form of dress is common to all strata of society. Jewellery is mostly of pearls, corals turquoise, and agate set in well-crafted gold and silver.

About Bhutan diet is rich in meat, cereals particularly rice, vegetables and herbs.

Meat dishes, mainly pork and beef, are lavishly spiced with chillies, and it is common to see these bright red peppers drying on roofs in the sun. Salted butter tea is served on all occasions. Chang, a local beer, and Arra, a spirit distilled from rice, maize, wheat or barley, are also favorite beverages. “Doma” or betel nut is offered as a customary greeting.

About Bhutan Archery is the popular national sport played all year round with the traditional bows and arrows. An integral part of most festivities, archery matches are gala affairs with much music, dancing drinking and gaiety.

About Bhutan ancient music and dances of the different region have been faithfully preserved. The quite, grace of the folk dances and the drama of the energetic, colorful mask dances will remain one of the visitor’s most vivid memories.

Bhutan is the only country in the world that practices the religion of Tantric form of Mahayana Buddhism today. It was in the 8th century AD that Guru Padma Sambhava introduced Buddhism to the country.

About Bhutan religious festivals known as ‘Tsechus’ and ‘Dromchoes’ symbolizing amity, peace and compassion, are held annually at various parts of the kingdom at different times of the year. These vibrant festivals are a time for the people from various walks of life to come together decent in all their ceremonial dress. The most popular festivals are Paro Tsechu (March/April), Thimphu Tsechu (September/October) and in Bumthang (October). During the festival, rare and sacred masked dances, sword dances and many rituals are performed.

About Bhutan’s rich diversity of flora and fauna. Blessed with unparalleled scenic beauty of majestic snow capped peaks, lush valleys and large zone of virgin forest, Bhutan is home to numerous rare and endangered species of wildlife such as the blue sheep, musk deer, red panda, snow leopard, black bear, golden langur and the unique Takin, the national animal of Bhutan. The endangered Black Necked Cranes also migrate to Bhutan from Central Asia during the winter.

Bhutan  has been identified as one of the 10 bio-diversity hot spots in the world and as one of the 221 global endemic bird areas. Its eco-system has some of the most exotic species of the Eastern Himalayas with an estimated 770 species of birds and over 50 species of rhododendron, along with an amazing variety of medicinal plants and orchids.