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About Bhutan

They say ‘Happiness is a place’ but we say ‘Bhutan is Happiness’.

Although small, Bhutan is a champion of Happiness making waves across the world. Our philosophy of Gross National Happiness (GNH) is not only a philosophy, but also a part of every Bhutanese. First coined and championed by the fourth King of Bhutan, now every aspect of economic growth must align with the principles of GNH because material achievement carries far less meaning if the people it’s achieved for are not first happy. Happiness precedes material satisfaction in every aspect of Bhutanese people. 

Sandwiched between the two gigantic Asian powers India in the south and China in the north, Bhutan is no less.  With just over a 700,000 people, this small landlocked country has set exemplary standards when it comes to conservation of nature. Bhutan’s land is at least 65% forest and Bhutan is one of the few carbon negative countries in the world. Bhutan’s learned to harmonize its developmental goals with the Mother Nature and the harmony between the two is impeccable and undeniably beautiful. 

It is one of the bio diverse hot spots in the world flaunting an epic range of exotic bird species. Bhutan is home to many endangered species of flora and fauna such as the magnificent Golden Langur. 

Bhutan is home to one of the most unique and jaw-dropping cultures of the world. Bhutan’s unique culture, etiquette, harmony with Buddhism and its unique people are the definitions of Bhutanese independence.  Its colorful festivities are one of the powerhouses of Bhutanese uniqueness. 

To name one, Bhutan is home to one of the most breathtaking Buddhist temples in the world. Located on the face of a dizzying cliff at the upper Paro valley, the Taktshang (tiger’s nest) Monastery awaits you for an adrenaline-rushing-one-of-a-kind-experience. This thrilling monastery was built towards the end of the 17th century around the cave Guru Padmasambhava was said to have meditated after flying there on the back of a tigress.  Visiting this temple not only sends you an unforgettable shiver down your spine, it also cleanses your present life off all the sins you have committed.

Bhutan is one of the only countries in the world providing free health care and free education to its people. Lessons are taught in English medium across the country and therefore, majority of its people can speak fluent English making it easier for the foreign visitors to communicate. Just like any Bhutanese, any foreigner will be treated for free in any of the health centers in Bhutan. By doing so, Bhutan not only enjoys happiness but also shares it with anyone who visits her. Bhutan is home to all, native and outsiders alike.

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BHUTAN FACTS

GOVERNMENT SYSTEM

GOVERNMENT SYSTEM

For over a century, the wise leadership of Kings has ruled Bhutan. With Bhutan being one of the newest democracies, the democratically elected government receives invaluable guidance from the King. The King of Bhutan is the ultimate guardian of its sacred constitution, bestowed upon its people by the fourth King because nobody knows the needs of the people like the King does. Bhutan has so far seen five Kings and the current and fifth King of Bhutan is His Majesty the King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuk.

GROSS NATIONAL HAPPINESS (GNH)

GROSS NATIONAL HAPPINESS (GNH)

Bhutan believes putting happiness first than its economic achievements is of paramount importance to its developmental philosophy. And so far it has worked out perfectly. While its people are happy and content, its economic advancement is not bad either: growing at a very fast pace.

GNH is the brainchild of the fourth King of Bhutan. GNH is now etched into the every day aspect of every Bhutanese.

BUDDHISM - STATE RELIGION OF BHUTAN

BUDDHISM - STATE RELIGION OF BHUTAN

Buddhism is the state religion of Bhutan. Vajrayana Buddhists consist of the majority of its population. The Je Khenpo heads the central monastic body of Bhutan called the Dratshang Lhentshog. He arbitrates on the matter of religion.

Buddhism is deeply rooted in the lives of Bhutanese. In every part of the country, any visitor will be thrilled to find sacred temples and monasteries for its people to offer prayers and receive blessings from the spiritual guardians of Buddhism.

BLUE POPPY - NATIONAL FLOWER OF BHUTAN

BLUE POPPY - NATIONAL FLOWER OF BHUTAN

This exotic flower has a reputation of being the symbol of peace to Bhutanese, and it is the national flower of Bhutan. Meconopsis gakyidiana, the name inspired by the concept of Gross National Happiness (gakyid=happiness) is a new species of blue poppy discovered and named in 2017, which was originally thought to be meconopsis grandis.

NGULTRUM - CURRENCY OF BHUTAN

NGULTRUM - CURRENCY OF BHUTAN

The Bhutanese currency is called the Ngultrum. Bhutanese ngultrum has banknotes from one to one thousand. One ngultrum is equal to 100 chetrums.  Each banknote has a different and unique story behind it. Ngultrum is pegged at par with the Indian Rupee.

DZONGKHA - NATIONAL LANGUAGE OF BHUTAN

DZONGKHA - NATIONAL LANGUAGE OF BHUTAN

Dzongkha is the official and national language of Bhutan. It is the language of palace or fortress (dzong=palace or fortress, kha=language). The Tibetan alphabet is used to write Dzongkha. Nearly every Bhutanese speaks Dzongkha.

It is the form of communication in both oral and written in all the offices of Bhutan although English was the main form of communication in offices a few years ago.

Dzongkha can now be written using personal computers because Dzongkha keyboard is now available in personal computers and smart phones.

TAKIN - NATIONAL ANIMAL OF BHUTAN

TAKIN - NATIONAL ANIMAL OF BHUTAN

This epic animal bearing a head of a goat and a body of a cow is the national animal of Bhutan. Its creation is mythical. It is believed that the 16th century saint Drukpa Kuenley, informally also known as the divine madman, created it in a miraculous performance. It is believed he created it from the heap of cow and goat bones in a magical performance as was asked by his followers.

His footprints are still seen in the form of famous phallus sculptures and gift sets found in various handicraft shops across the country.

GHO AND KIRA - NATIONAL DRESS FOR BHUTAN

GHO AND KIRA - NATIONAL DRESS FOR BHUTAN

Gho and kira are the national dress of Bhutan. Gho is a robe like dress worn by the men, which is pulled up to the knee and tied at the waist with the cloth belt called kera. The women wear Kira, which is an ankle length dress that is tied at the waist with kera and pinned at the shoulders with brooches.

Bhutanese are required to wear gho and kira when they are in offices, schools, monasteries and official gatherings and meetings. The national dress of Bhutan was introduced by the founding father and an important religious figure of Bhutan in the 17th century, Zhanbdrung Ngawang Namgyal.

Bhutan Travel Guide

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