About Bhutan

Bhutan Dreamland Tours

ABOUT BHUTAN

HISTORY

Bhutan opened its doors to tourism only in recent past to reveal to the world the mysteries ensconced in her bosom. Bhutan has until recently remained a lost Shangri La but now it is a paradise born in the midst of the great Himalayas. Nowhere in the world is there a peaceful co-existence of all the elements in the nature at its best as in Bhutan. Nature is in pristine condition and there is freshness all around. The snow capped peaks of the mighty Himalayas stand majestically like the Guardian Deities. In the stride for modernization, Bhutan, has not trampled anything, instead the past is saved and the rich heritage preserved. Hills and cliffs are the seats of monasteries, temples and Dzongs (fortress) through which flourish Buddhism.

 

Bhutan is a small landlocked mountainous country east of Nepal, bordering the Tibetan state of China in the north and India in the south. A little bigger than Switzerland, it has an area of 38,394 sq km. The lush green valleys support a variety of vegetation and home to a rich wildlife. A rich variety of crops grow in the central and southern regions. Rice is the staple food of the people. Terrace farming, mainly because of the slopes, is the method of cultivation. As one moves to south the vegetation changes from alpine heights of 2500 meters to lush sub-tropical to tropical, and the Himalayas recede back and so the land of Bhutan ends. The plains belong to India.

 

GROSS NATIONAL HAPPINESS

A good system of government that is not dependent on any individual or personalities, a system that will function efficiently because of its in-built merits, that is a legacy we must create for future generation. The essence of what His Majesty the Fourth King of Bhutan aspires to build in the system as stated in the above quotation is introduced through the introduction of Gross National Happiness.Gross National Happiness is a philosophy that embraces every aspect of development policies in Bhutan. It is based on the idea that a balance between spiritual and material development will lead to the happiness of people for a nation to attain development in its true sense.

The concept was introduced in the 1960`s by the Third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk. He emphasized that the ultimate fruit of economic development should be to make all the Bhutanese prosperous and happy. This philosophy was again expressed by him in 1971 in his address during the admission of Bhutan to the United Nations Organization. The vision of making all the Bhutanese happy was further articulated and elaborated by the fourth King Jigme Singye Wangchuk. The philosophy found expression in amany of his speeches of the philosophy became more prominent when he proclaimed that Gross National Happiness is more important than Gross National Product(GNP).

 

PEOPLE

More than 80% of the population is subsistence farmers. The elegance of Bhutanese dress can be seen only here and nowhere else. The men wear “gho” a calf-length tartan dressing gown with big cuffs and knee high socks and, women a bright ankle length wraparound skirt called “kira”, with a short boxy bright top. The Bhutanese are of few ethnic groups.

 

RELIGION

Religion has played a vital role in the history of the country. The sound of religion penetrates the walls and reverberates through the valleys. It passes through the fibers of all Bhutanese. The state religion is Drukpa Kargyud, a branch of Vajrayana sect of Mahayana Buddhism.

 

ARTS & ARCHITECTURE

Bhutanese art and craft is in a class of its own. It has unique and distinct style of ornamentation. Fine specimen of gold and silver artifacts, paintings, fabrics, appliqué work and woodcarvings of great memorabilia of souvenir standards are found in most shops. They express beliefs and values of the Buddhist faith.

 

FLORA & FAUNA

Bhutan has a very rich and diverse fauna and flora. Various species of flowers and plants endemic to Bhutan, deck the country with beauty. The forests and mountains are home to many species of endangered animals. Black-necked crane is one species of endangered birds. Golden Langur of its only kind in the world is found in Bhutan.

 

FESTIVALS

The Bhutanese are friendly people and their festivals colorful. Dzongs (monastic fortresses) come to life at the time of festivals held annually throughout the kingdom at different times of the year. People perform rare masked and sword dances and other rituals dating back to the medieval ages in the courtyards. Each of these dances has religious significance. All the districts known as Dzongkhags, have their own festivals or Tshechus. The Tshechus showcase beliefs, customs, traditions and cultures of the people. It is not only limited to the Dzongs, but also celebrated in the village monasteries and temples. During Tshechus many religious dramas are enacted. Village and town folks dressed in their best clothes both rich and poor come to enjoy themselves in a spirit of festivity and their deep faith in Guru Rinpoche, the saint who brought Buddhism to Bhutan and the region.

The most popular Tshechus for tourists are those held in Thimphu, Paro and Bumthang.

 

Bhutan Dreamland Tours, P.O. Box 1873, Moti-thang, Thimphu, Bhutan, Tel: +975 17 34 98 25. Copyright © 2013. All Rights Reserved. Last updated: 21.03.2018