Facts of Bhutan

"The Land of the (Peaceful) Thunder Dragon"

Our Land locked Mountain Kingdom is bordered by Tibet, China, India, near Nepal and Bangladesh. Most Asians haven't even heard about Bhutan - we've been pretty quiet up here in the Himalayas. In fact many of people didn’t know that it is existing until we got your e-mail. We live on our own "Roof of the World" and have kept to our selves for hundreds of years. Now it is permissible to visit Bhutan. Find out about Bhutan and visit soon.

Geography of Bhutan

Bhutan is a landlocked country. It is located between Tibet in the north, Indian states of West Bengal and Assam in the south, and Arunachal Pradesh in the east. It stretches across most climate zones; from the tropical jungles in the south, to the moderate heights of 2,000 to 25, 00 meters in the centre up the alpine range and the towering Himalayan Mountains and glaciers of the north.

Bhutan is a land of soaring snowcapped peaks, alpine meadows and densely forested hills and ravines abounding in exotic flora and fauna. From May to August, hills are covered with an awesome variety of flowers decorated with waterfalls and streams gushing in wild abandon.

History of Bhutan

Bhutan's early history is steeped in Buddhist tradition and mythology. Bhutan's medieval and modern history was a time of warlords, feuds, giant fortresses and castles. The visit of Padama Sambhava in 747 AD is the important landmark in the history of the country. The kingdom's recent history begins with a hereditary monarchy that was founded in the 20th century and continued the country's policy of isolationism. It was under the leadership of the third king that Bhutan emerged from its medieval past of serfdom and reclusion. Despite the speed of modernization, Bhutan has maintained a policy of careful, controlled policy of development in order to preserve its national identity. Though known as Bhutan to the outside world, to the Bhutanese, the country is known as Druk Yul, 'land of the thunder dragon'. The people are known as the Drukpas.

Religion/Culture

The State religion is Drukpa Kagyupa a branch of Mahayana Buddhism. It has been institutionalized in the Dratshang (Central Monk body), headed by the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot) who is chosen from among the most learned lamas and enjoys an equal rank with the King. Bhutan is the only country in the world to have adopted Mahayana Buddhism in its Tantric form as its official religion. The rich culture heritage of Bhutan has remained remarkably unblemished. It is to a great degree not remnants of the past but a living culture, where age-old traditions are vibrant and still continue to have clear significance in every day life of the Bhutanese people.

People

The Bhutanese people are a good- natured, friendly and fun-loving people. Hence there are nineteen languages spoken in the country for a population of just 750,000. A nomadic and pastoral society at first, they gradually turned agriculture in the fertile valleys. The people are broadly described as - the Ngalongs in the western and central regions. The Sharchops, who live in the east of the country, are recognized as the original inhabitants of Bhutan. The third group is known as Lhotshampas. They represent the Nepali speaking ethnic Nepali origin, from the south. Bhutan also has several small comm.

Festivals

There are many religious festivals. The best known festivals are the Tsechus which are held at different times of the year in different locations. Tsechus are celebrated for three to five days with both monks and laymen taking part in the ritual mask dances.

Dzongs

These massive fortress-monasteries decorate most hill-tops and valleys. They serve as the administrative headquarters and are the focus of secular and religious authority in each district.

The Rural Bhutan

The first thing that a visitor to Bhutan will notice is the great expanse of green, forested hillsides. A drive or trek through the country-side of Bhutan will take you from the subtropical forests over high alpine passes and down to broad valleys with colorfully painted houses scattered across the landscape.

Trekking

For the trekking enthusiasts, there are numerous routes ranging from low (9840 ft) to medium (10,000 ft) to very high altitude (14,400 ft) treks.

Flora and Fauna in Bhutan

Bhutan is a botanical paradise. One of the ancient names given to Bhutan was 'Southern Valleys of Medicinal Herbs'. To name a few floras in Bhutan- rhododendrons, junipers and magnolias several meters high, carnivorous plants, rare orchids, blue poppy (national flower), edelweiss, gentian, medicinal plants, daphne, giant rhubarb, high-altitude plants, tropical tress, pine and oak etc.Among the rare and exotic faunas found in Bhutan are - Golden Langur, Red Pandas, Black-necked Crane, Snow Leopard, Takin, Musk Deer, Himalayan Brown Bear, Himalayan Marten, Tiger,