Bhutan is a heavenly country located between China and India. The form of government in the country is a democratic constitutional monarchy.
Bhutan has been landlocked by picturesque mountains in the north, with a pristine forest gifted clean and fresh air with scenic rivers. However, Bhutan was opened to tourism by Fourth Dragon King Jigme Singye Wangchuck in 1974. Now, Bhutan became one of the exotic destinations in the world.
In the 8th century, a Tantric master called Guru Rinpoche brought Buddhism in the country with unwavering blessing. As a result, the majority of people in Bhutan follow Mahayana Buddhism. Furthermore, in the 17th century, the great scholar Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel visited and unified the country with the Dual foundation system. There were many establishments of fortress mainly to protect from Tibetan invasion and also used for administration purposes.
There were peace and tranquility in the country. However, after the death of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, there were continuous power struggles among the high-rank official for the post of temporal rulers. There were also threat from Tibet in the North and British, and India in the south. As a result of continuous civil wars, the country got fragment, and there were no peace and happiness for the people. Finally, however, the country was once again unified by Desi Jigme Namgyel.
In addition, Desi Jigme Namgyel’s son, Gongsa Ugyen Wangchuck, proved his capability, farsightedness braveness. Therefore, the people of Bhutan unanimously elected Gongsa Ugyen Wangchuck as the first hereditary king of Bhutan in 1907, which revived peace, prosperity, and happiness.
Culture of Bhutan
Bhutan is well known for its diverse culture. Therefore, preservation and promotion of culture are some of the pillars of Gross National Happiness. However, about 80% of the Bhutanese follow Buddhism.
Flora & Fauna
Bhutan is very rich in biodiversity. Untouched forests cover more than 70% of the country. Possessing rich plants and trees became home to varied species of animals and birds. In addition, Bhutan boasts about 300 species of medicinal plants and about 46 species of rhododendrons. Some familiar sights for the visitors are the Magnolias, Junipers, Orchids, Gentian, the Blue Poppy, the national flowers, and tropical trees such as pine and oaks.
Despite Bhutan’s landscapes, geographical diversity, and favorable climatic conditions, this tiny kingdom has incredible biodiversity and a great ecosystem. There are more than 770 species of birds, 200 mammals, and 5400 plant species.
Bhutanese architecture is unique globally, consisting of multicolored wood frontages, small arched windows, and a sloping roof. Western Bhutanese structures are constructed from wooden frames and materials, namely wattle and duals interior walls, rammed exterior earth walls, stone and earth retaining walls. No plans are drawn up, nor are nailed or iron bars allowed in the construction.
The architect of ordinary houses varies according to the location and elevation and also of raw materials. Although bamboo houses are typical in the southern latitudes, most people build two-storied houses, where upper floors are reserved for chapels and guest rooms. There is usually ample space between the roof and walls for air to pass and often dry animal skins and chilies.
The Arts & Craft
Bhutan’s art and craft is defined as the art of Zorig Chusum (Zo – the ability to make, Rig – science or Chusum-thirteen). The great 15th-century terton Pema Lingpa is traditionally credited with introducing the arts into Bhutan. In 1680, the 4th Druk Desi (Secular ruler) Gyalse Tenzin Rabgye was finally categorized into thirteen arts and crafts such as Papermaking, Black Smithing, Clay art, Painting, Bronze Casting, wood, slate and stone carving, woodturning, woodworking, Weaving, silver and goldsmithing cane, and bamboo work, and Needlework.
In order to preserve the traditional arts and crafts, which represent the spirit and identity of the Himalayan kingdom, the royal government of Bhutan established the national institute of Zorig Chusum in Thimphu in 1971, and another in the east, Trashi Yangtse institute for Zorig Chusum established in 1971. Every year, hundreds of trainees pass out from these two institutes. Moreover, they are a vital part of preserving and promoting the arts and crafts of Bhutan.
Bhutan’s unit of currency is Ngultrum (Nu), which equals 100 Chetrum. Since Bhutanese currency is pegged Indian Rupee, Ngultrum in Bhutan has the same value as Indian Rupee. Therefore, travelers can exchange cash from Banks in Bhutan and their hotels with the help of travel agents.
American dollars, pound sterling, French or Swiss francs, German marks, Chinese Yuan, and Japanese yen are accepted currencies.