CultureTrekkingFestivals
   
     
  Country name: Land of the Thunder Dragon
  Capital: Thimphu
  Govt type: Constitutional Monarchy
  Population: 658,888
  Currency: Ngultrum
 
 

Flag

  Bhutan's national flag is divided diagonally, with the golden yellow upper half symbolizing the secular authority and the lower orange part symbolizing the Buddhist faith or the religious part of the country. The white dragon in the center honors the people's name for the country and the white colour of the dragon represents the purity and loyalty of people. The dragon's snarling mouth expresses the strength of the male and female deities protecting our country. The jewels held in its claws depict the wealth of the nation
   
  Area
  Total: 38,394 sq.km
   
  Land boundaries
  China 470 km, India 605 km
Total: 1,075 km
   
  Elevation extremes
  Drangeme Chhu 97 m
Gangkar Puensum 7,570 m
   
 
Geography note   Geographic coordinates
Landlocked; strategic location between China and India; controls several key Himalayan mountain passes   27 30 N, 90 30 E
   
  Terrain
  Mostly mountainous with some fertile valleys and savanna
   
  Languages
  Dzongkha (the language of the dzongs or the fortresses)
   
  Religions
 

Religious Beliefs. Buddhism, which was introduced in the seventh century, is the official religion of Bhutan. Bhutan is the only country in the world that has retained the Vajrayana form of Mahayana Buddhism as its national religion. Throughout all of Bhutan there are Buddhist stupas , believed to be a form of protection for tourists and residents.
Hinduism is practiced by the southern Bhutanese. In 1980 King Wangchuck declared Dussera, one of the sacred festivals of Hinduism, a national holiday.

Religious Practitioners. There are ten thousand Buddhist monks and they are vitally involved in both the religious and social lives of the Buddhist population. Because of the religious significance of nearly every important event in the life of a Buddhist, the monks visit households and perform rites on such occasions as birth, marriage, sickness, and death.
Rituals and Holy Places. A number of annual festivals highlight different events in the life of Buddha. Many of the festivals feature symbolic dances, which are thought to bestow heavenly blessings on the participants or viewers.
During religious festivals, tourists are allowed to enter the Dzong (monastery/fortress) and view masked and sword dances; most of the dances date back to before the Middle Ages and are performed only once or twice a year. A fire dance performed at Bumthang is intended to help childless women who are at the festival conceive during the following year.
Death and the Afterlife. Both Buddhists and Hindus believe in reincarnation and the law of karma. The law of karma dictates that an individual's decisions and behaviors in one life can influence his or her transmigration into the next life; for example, if someone lived life in harmony with others, that person would transmigrate to a better existence after death. In contrast, someone who had lived selfishly would inherit a life worse than the previous one after death.

   
  Society/Culture
  Modern Bhutanese culture derives from ancient culture. This culture affected the early growth of this country. Dzongkha and Sharchop, the principal Bhutanese languages, are closely related to Tibetan, and Bhutanese monks read and write the ancient variant of the Tibetan language known as chhokey. Bhutanese are physically similar to the Tibetans but history does not record when they crossed over the Himalayas and settled in the south-draining valleys of Bhutan. Both Tibetans and Bhutanese revere the tantric guru Padmasambhava the founder of Himalayan Buddhism in the 8th century.
   
  Economy
  The economy is based on agriculture and forestry and provides the livelihoods for 90 percent of the population. Agriculture is primarily subsistence farming and animal husbandry. The economy of Bhutan is aligned with that of India through strong trade and monetary links
   
  Brief History of Bhutan
  Bhutan lies in the heart of eastern Himalayas, bordered by China (Tibet) to the north and northwest, and by the Indian states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, West Bengal and Sikkim on the east, south and west respectively.

With an area of 38,394 square km., Bhutan is comparable to Switzerland both in its size,beauty and topography. The mighty Himalayas protected Bhutan from the rest of the world and left it blissfully untouched through centuries. The Drukpa Kagyupa school of Mahayana Buddhism provided the essence of a rich culture and a fascinating history.
The history of the kingdom dates back to the 8th century, with Guru Padmasambhava's legendary flight from Tibet to Bhutan in 747 AD on the back of a tigress. The Guru, also considered as the second Buddha, arrived in Taktsang (Tiger's Nest), the cliffs above the valley of Paro, and from there began propagation of the Tantric form of Mahayana Buddhism. In the ensuing centuries many great masters preached the faith, resulting in the full bloom of Buddhism in the country by the middle ages. Although sectarian at first, the country was eventually unified under the Drukpa Kagyupa sect of Mahayana Buddhism in the early 17th century, by the religious figure, Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. The Zhabdrung codified a comprehensive system of laws and built dzongs which guarded each valley during unsettled times, and nowadays serve as the religious and administrative centers of their respective regions. In the next two centuries, the nation was once again fragmented into regional fiefdoms with intermittent civil wars.

At the end of 19th century, the Trongsa Penlop, Ugyen Wangchuck, who then controlled the central and eastern regions, overcame all his rivals and united the nation once again. He was unanimously accepted as the first hereditary monarch of Bhutan in 1907.

   
  Climate and weather
  Bhutan weather chart
 
Figures in Centigrade
JAN
FEB
MAR
APR
MAY
JUN
JUL
AUG
SEP
OCT
NOV
DEC
PLACES
Max
Min
Max
Min
Max
Min
Max
Min
Max
Min
Max
Min
Max
Min
Max
Min
Max
Min
Max
Min
Max
Min
Max
Min
Paro
9.4
-5.8
13.4
1.5
14.5
0.6
17.6
4.6
23.5
10.6
25.4
14.1
26.8
14.9
25.3
14.7
23.4
11.7
18.7
7.4
13.9
1.4
11.2
-1.7
Thimphu
12.3
-2.6
14.4
0.6
16.4
3.9
20
7.1
22.5
13.1
24.4
15.2
18.9
13.4
25
15.8
23.1
15
21.9
10.4
17.9
5
14.5
-1.1
Punakha
16.1
4.2
19.6
5.3
21.12
9.2
24.4
11.2
27.2
14.8
31.2
19.5
32
21.6
31.4
19.8
29.9
20.4
27.8
18.9
22.3
13
15
7.9
Wangdue
17
4.3
19
7.8
22.8
10.4
26.2
12.9
29.1
17.7
29.2
20.1
18.4
16.2
29.1
20
27.5
19.1
26.1
14.7
22.6
9.6
19.1
6.3
Trongsa
13
-0.2
13.9
0.4
16.7
4.4
20.1
6.6
21
11.6
22.2
13.6
25.3
15.3
23.8
15
22.6
14.2
21.8
11.7
19.8
6.4
18.2
2.5
Bumthang
10.8
-5.1
10
-1.4
16.2
3.5
18.7
3.9
21.3
9.5
22.5
3.5
14.1
10.9
23
13.7
21.6
12.1
19.5
5.9
16.1
-0.5
12.3
-2.3
Mongar
15.5
8.2
15.9
8.3
20
11.6
2.8
14
25.1
17.4
26.1
19.5
16.1
15.8
25.4
19.6
24.7
19.4
22.7
15.8
19.9
11.2
15.7
9.5
Trashigang
20.4
10.5
21.7
11.5
24.8
14.4
28.3
17
30
20.6
30.7
22.6
31.5
23.1
30.2
22.7
30
23.9
29.1
17.7
26.1
13.6
23
11.6
   
  More info on Bhutan >
 
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