Where is Bhutan
Bhutan is a mystic land. There are not any other countries in the globe that have such incredible natural beauty and cultural hotspots. It is far more diverse concerning its area. Bhutan is a small landlocked country located in South Asia. The country covers an area of 14,824 square miles. This small East Himalayan country is officially known as the Kingdom of Bhutan. Thimpu is its capital.
Bhutan is famous for pristine nature. It is not an ordinary place. Bhutan is also a proud and independent nation. This country is the Buddhist Kingdom and has remained in complete isolation for centuries. Therefore, Bhutan has unspoiled nature and culture.
The country is famous for both mystery and magic. There are many things in Bhutan that will completely amaze anyone of us. The country is surprisingly one of the happiest countries in the world. Only Denmark is ahead than Bhutan. Bhutan is the second least populated country in the world where the Maldives stands in the first position. Similarly, Bhutan is a spiritual land of people and places. Everything we see in Bhutan is so natural and genuine. The country is peaceful, colorful, and divine.
Geographically, Bhutan is divided into three distinct regions: Great Himalayas, Lesser Himalayas, and Duars. Bhutan Exercises constitutional monarchy. The King exercises the executive power of the country. It has a distinct national identity based on Buddhism. Dzongkha is the official and national language of Bhutan and Ngultrum is the national currency
Table of Contents
- 1 History of Bhutan
- 2 Where is Bhutan?
- 3 Bhutan Map
- 4 Bhutan Capital
- 5 Bhutan Flag
- 6 Must Visit Places in Bhutan
- 7 Things to Do in Bhutan
- 8 Quick Facts about Bhutan
History of Bhutan
The history of Bhutan is very old. Some pieces of evidence state that the actual civilization of Bhutan dates back 2000 years. Archaeologists believe that the aboriginal people of Bhutan are Monpa who have migrated to Bhutan from Tibet. Therefore, some believe that Monpa put the foundations of the history of Bhutan.
Another explanation is related to Drukyul, the traditional name of Bhutan. The Drukpa (Dragon people) started to live in Bhutan from the 17th Century. They were also the dominant follower of Tibetan Buddhism. Both of these explanations explain that the indigenous people of Bhutan are the descendants of Tibetan people.
Bhutan was officially unified in 1907 under King Ugyen Wangchuk. Though Britishers tried to interfere in the internal affairs of Bhutan, they never colonized it. Nor Tibet had any influence on Bhutan. When Tibet invaded China, Bhutan strengthened her ties with India. Bhutan remained completely isolated until 1960. Therefore, people led a simple and traditional lifestyle based on agriculture and animal husbandry.
Bhutan has entered the new era of social transformations by abolishing slavery, caste system, emancipating women, and land reform in the 1960s. Bhutan changed her foreign policy in 1985 and started to extend her relations with non-Asian countries as well.
A pro-democracy campaign started in Bhutan 1991. The government of Bhutan believes that it was the idea of Nepalese immigrants in Bhutan. As a result, approximately 100,000 civil servants were either evicted or encouraged to emigrate.
The fourth hereditary ruler of Bhutan, King Jigme Singye Wangchuck voluntarily curtailed his absolute monarchy in 1998. In March 2005, he released a draft constitution that outlined plans for the country to shift to a two-party democracy. In Dec. 2006, he abdicated in favor of his son, and Crown Prince Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuk became king. Prime Minister Lyonpo Khandu Wangchuk resigned in July 2007 so he could join a political party in anticipation of the country’s first elections. Bhutan undertook its first scheduled election in 2008. Lyonpo Kinzang Dorji took over as the interim prime minister.
Other Name of Bhutan
The official name of Bhutan is The Kingdom of Bhutan. The last Himalayan Kingdom, Bhutan is also known by many other names. It is derived from two Sanskrit words Bhot and Anta where “Bhot” means Tibet and “Anta” means last or end. On that note, Bhutan means the End of Tibet or the Last Great Himalayan Kingdom. The country is also known by the name Druk Yul means The Land of Thunder Dragon. Some mythologies explain that Drukpa people ruled over the kingdom around the 17th Century and the kingdom fairly became popular as a Drukpa or “Drukyul”. Drukpa Lineage is an important sect of Tibetan Buddhism. They are also popular as the “Dragon People”. Some people also believe that Bhutan is the equivalent word for the Tibetan word “Bod”.
Where is Bhutan?
Bhutan is the last Himalayan Kingdom. It is the most unique, the most pristine, and the most picturesque country in the world. This tiny landlocked country is located at the end of the Great Himalayas in south-east Asia. This small country is located between two huge countries; China and India. It is bordered by the People’s Republic of China in the north and India surrounds it from east, west, and south. Bhutan is bordered by Tibet in the north, Chumbi Valley (Tibet), Indian states Sikkim and West Bengal in the west, and Indian states Assam, West Bengal, and Arunachal Pradesh in the south and east.
Himalayan Kingdom Bhutan is a small country. It is smaller than Switerzland. Bhutan has the most beautiful landscapes and the most extraordinary cultures and traditions. The country was in complete isolation until the 1970s. Therefore, many people don’t know much about this country. It is even difficult to locate the exact location on the map.
Bhutan is in South Asia. It is between China and India. Tibet, an autonomous province of China is located towards the north of Bhutan. India surrounds Bhutan on the other three sides; South, East, and West.
The Himalayan Kingdom Bhutan is bordered by Indian states Sikkim and West Bengal in the west, and Indian states Assam, West Bengal, and Arunachal Pradesh in the south and east. Bangladesh and Myanmar are the other closer countries of Bhutan.
If you check through the Himalayan border, it will be even easier for you to locate this tiny country. It is located towards the end of the Great Himalayas.
Many people consider Bhutan as an extraordinary country. Bhutan preserves aged old Buddhist Monasteries and Hindu temples. It is a country that has a glorious history. Many people wonder where the capital of Bhutan is. The administrative capital of Bhutan is Thimpu. Thimpu is a beautiful city situated in the west-central part of the country. The city is in the Himalaya Mountains on the Raidak River at an altitude of about 7000 feet above the sea level. The location itself is fascinating.
The Government of Bhutan declared Thimpu as its capital city in 1961. The city extends north-south at the west bank of Raidak River. Thimpu is the fifth-highest capital in the world by altitude. The altitude of the city ranges between 2248 m to 2648 m.
The small city of Bhutan is strategically the political and economical center of Bhutan. The fertile valley of Thimpu abounds agriculture productivity. Thimpu is very much suitable for agriculture and animal husbandry and these two bases largely contribute to the total GNP of Bhutan. Tourism is another important mainstay of the Bhutanese economy. Though Bhutan doesn’t expect many tourists to come here they collect a huge sum of money through the tourism business because it is an expensive service in Bhutan.
Thimpu contains most of the important political buildings in Bhutan, including the National Assembly of the newly-formed parliamentary democracy and Dechencholing Palace, the official residence of the King. The palace is located in the north of the city. Thimpu is coordinated by the “Thimpu Structure Plan”, an Urban Development Plan which evolved in 1998 intending to protect the fragile ecology of the valley.
Thimpu preserves the mind-blowing cultures of Bhutan. The cultures and traditions of Bhutan are depicted in the art, literature, religion, music, traditional folk dances, and local festivals. All of these unusual customs and practices have made this small city an extraordinary capital city. It has now become one of the bustling hubs for tourists.
The national flag is the national identity of any nation. It is a symbol of the country. Bhutan’s national flag is also the national symbol of Bhutan. The current National Flag of Bhutan is diagonally divided into yellow and orange fields. The yellow half stretches from the lower hoist to the upper fly end, and the orange half from the fly end to the lower hoist. White dragon flies facing away from the hoist along the dividing line. This flag was adopted constitutionally in 1972.
The yellow half in the upper part of Bhutan’s national flag signifies civil traditions and embodies his Majesty’s being. His Majesty is the supreme leader of Bhutan and wears yellow Kabney.
The orange signifies monastic tradition of Buddha’s teachings. Moreover, it signifies that the traditions of Kagyud and Nyingma flourish in harmony.
The adjoining of two colours represents the oneness of Bhutanese people. It also signifies having monastic and civil traditions.
Similarly, the white dragon holding jewels signifies entire Bhutan. In the native language, Bhutan is called Durk Yul which means the Land of Thunder Dragon. It is also believed that the dragon represents the Bhutanese people, Drukpa.
The white colour of the dragon signifies the purity of inner thoughts and deeds that unite all the ethnically and linguistically diverse peoples of Bhutan.
The jewels held in the dragon’s claws represent Bhutan’s wealth and prosperity while the snarling mouth of the dragon represents the security and protection of Bhutanese people by guardian deities.
Some facts about Bhutan’s National Flag
- The current national flag of Bhutan is the fourth version adopted after many subsequent changes.
- The second King of Bhutan, His Majesty Jigme Wangchuck initiated designing Bhutan’s National flag in the 1940s.
- The first National Flag of Bhutan was a bi-colour with yellow on the top and red on the bottom. It had a green dragon along the line of two fields in the middle, facing the fly end.
- The third king of Bhutan, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck modified the first version in the 1950s in which the colour of the dragon was changed into white.
- The flag was modified again for the third time and the square shape of the flag was changed into rectangular.
- Finally, the red colour of the lower triangle was changed into an orange colour in the late 1960s under the command of the third King.
Why is Bhutan So Rich and Happy Nation?
Bhutan is surprisingly one of the happiest countries in the world. The Gross National Happiness of Bhutan is only behind Denmark, the happiest country on the globe. The small kingdom of Bhutan is far more ahead than other SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation) countries in many dimensions.
Many factors contribute to the Gross National Happiness of Bhutan. First of all, Bhutan has a stable ecosystem. The small country between the Himalayas remained in complete isolation for hundreds of years. Therefore, the environment of Bhutan never came into pressure. Neither there was any kind of foreign influence in the typical culture and lifestyle of the people. The beautiful landscape and unique cultural identity of Bhutan is always the reason to smile. Secondly, people are very much spiritual and true devotees of Buddhism. They love peace and live in solace. And the most important reason is that Bhutan has the fastest growing economy. Bhutan tops the list on GDP (Gross Domestic Products), PCI (Per Capita Income) and many other dimensions among the SAARC nations. The corruption level of Bhutan is approximately similar to the USA. It means that Bhutan comes among the least corrupt countries in the world.
What is Bhutan Famous For?
Bhutan is undoubtedly one of the best places to visit in the world. This small and peaceful Buddhist kingdom situated in the lap of the beautiful mountain is very famous for its beautiful landscape, unique cultural practices, very much pleasant climate, etc. Bhutan is also a famous place for traditional cuisine, art and architecture, fairs, and celebrations. All of the places are carved with Excellencies.
Truly speaking, Bhutan is a land of wonders. Everything you experience in Bhutan is so real, so unique, so natural, and so divine. The life of the Bhutanese people and local cultures of Bhutan is “out of the ordinary”. Here I am going to explain what Bhutan is famous for.
Bhutan is a real ethnographic museum. There are hundreds of sights in Bhutan. Some of the highlights of the country include Bumthang Dzongkhag, an ancient showcase of traditional Tibetan-style life and culture, and the treasure that makes Bhutan the last bastion of the grand kingdom of the Himalayas. There is also the Phobjika Valley, a treasure trove of exciting nature treks and textile makers. Trash gang, on the other hand, is a place of interest in its own right, and a convenient jump-off point to Eastern Bhutan. Moreover, other prominent landmarks of Bhutan are Tiger’s Nest Monastery, Punakha Dzong, Tashichho Dzong, Paro Taktsang, National Museum of Bhutan, etc.
Bhutan is also famous for mountain biking, sightseeing, rafting, photography, pilgrimage, festival watch, trekking in the Himalayas, shopping, studies, and research about the sociological, anthropological dimensions, and many more.
Why is Bhutan So Expensive?
Have you ever been to Bhutan? If not you may not know about the Cost of Bhutan Travel as well. Then listen to me, Bhutan is not cheap and it is not everyone’s reach. Bhutan is very expensive for travelers. Truly speaking it was the decision of the government. Bhutan doesn’t want a high volume of tourists to influence their people and nature. So the government has decided to make it an expensive service. Bhutan emphasizes on the quality of service, not the quantity. Unless you are from SAARC countries, you need to buy a tour to Bhutan. The government has decided a minimum $200 per day fee for a person in an offseason and $250 for the peak season.
There are several other reasons behind such a hefty price for tourism in Bhutan. The fees cover from standard accommodation and meals to internal taxes and tourism royalty fees. There are a lot of things that the daily fee covers. You will get a luxury tour car, good guides, good drivers, standard hotels, and a good meal. If you don’t buy any souvenirs or tip anyone, you won’t have any other expenses. There is an additional charge for couples and solo travelers. Therefore, Bhutan prefers groups.
Must Visit Places in Bhutan
Bhutan is the Shangri-La of a very rich culture and traditions. Despite being a very expensive country, it has become one of the most popular countries for travelers across the world. Every nooks and corner of Bhutan has their unique features and they attract everyone by their hypnotic glamour. Here, I am going to tell you about the must to visit places of Bhutan.
Bumthang Dzongkhag consists of four main valleys. They are Ura, Chumey, Tang, and Choekhor. Choekhor is the largest of the four and popular as Bumthang Valley. The valley is wide and gently carved by the ancient glaciers. Bumthang is the religious heartland of Bhutan and home to some of the ancient Buddhist temples. The valley is also recognized for its scenic beauty. Most importantly Bumthang Dzongkhag is popular for its historical and spiritual legacy. Bumthang is serene and one of the most peaceful regions of the country.
Trashigang Dzong is also known as the “Fortress of the Auspicious Hills”. It was built in 1659 to protect Bhutan from the Tibetan invasion. The Dzong is located strategically at the top of a hill overlooking the Dangmechu River. Legends say that the Tibetan invading army had remarked that the fortress is a “Sky Dzong”. The Dzong had remained the political stronghold of Bhutan for more than 300 years.
Trashigang Dzong is one of the must-visit places in Bhutan. It is superb in itself. Besides, you can observe every detail of ancient Bhutanese art and artifacts. Bhutanese history and traditions are well preserved here. Similarly, the fortress offers unbelievable natural panoramas.
Paro Taktsang is a Cliffside monastery with storied caves. The monastery is located in the upper Paro Valley. It is one of the most sacred places of pilgrimage in the country. Paro Taktsang has become one of the dominant symbols of Bhutan as well. It is 900 meters high on the vertical cliff. It is famous for its stunning location and beauty. This sacred site is believed to be used by Guru Rimpoche for meditation. Most importantly, it is the center of the origin of Buddhism in Bhutan.
Punakha Dzong is the second oldest and second-largest dzong in Bhutan. It is also the administrative center of the Punakha district. The dzong is famous for its grand and majestic structure. Punakha Dzong was the seat of the Government until 1961 when Thimpu was declared a new capital of the country. Many people consider Punakha Dzong as the “Palace of complete bliss and happiness”.
Cheli La Pass
It is the highest mountain pass in Bhutan. It connects Paro and Haa valleys. This pass has an altitude of 3,780 m. This pass is famous for the stunning panoramas. It is the only motorable pass which is also famous for the one who wants to enjoy driving off the winding roads above the hill.
It is very famous among the tourists for the magnificent panoramas of the Himalayas. It is also famous for 108 Chortens. This pass brings one between Thimpu and Punakha. It offers 360-degree panoramas. Besides that, the pass is famous for the spiritual richness of the Druk Wangyal Lhakhang Temple.
Jigme Dorge National Park
This is very beautiful as well as the famous destination to witness undisturbed wilderness. This park was established in 1974. It covers an area of 4300 square kilometers. It preserves 37 endangered species including the clouded leopard, snow leopard, Takin, Bengal tiger, Himalayan Blue sheep, Himalayan black Beer, black musk deer, red panda, etc. This national park is also famous for cultural sites.
Rinpung Dzong is a very famous Buddhist monastery and fortress of Bhutan. The Dzong is also known as Paro Dzong. The monument is famous for Bhutanese Architecture. It is a complex of the courtyards, temples, and offices along with an accommodation area. This Dzong is the finest example of Buddhist architecture in Bhutan and has been listed as the top attraction of Bhutan.
Phobjika Valley is a “U” shaped glacial valley located in Central Bhutan. The valley houses the impressive ancient Buddhist monasteries. Moreover, it is the heaven of the bird watchers. This valley borders the Jigme Syngye Wangchuk National Park. The major attraction of the valley is the black-necked cranes. In addition to the cranes, there are barking deers, wild boars, sambars, serows, Himalayan black bears, leopards, and red foxes. The valley is picturesque as well as peaceful. The valley is also popular among travelers for Gangtey Monastery.
Haa Valley is a beautiful village that provides a total glimpse of Bhutan. It is an amazing place to witness the real beauty of Bhutan. The valley also preserves some ancient temples and fortresses. Lhakhang Karpo and Nagpo, popularly known as White and Black Temple are located here. On the other hand, Shekhar Dark- a unique temple, Tagchu Goemba- a 100 years old temple, and Dobji Dzong-a five-storeyed fortress are the major attractions of the valley.
Things to Do in Bhutan
Bhutan is a land of surprises. Everything we see in Bhutan leaves us in awe and astonishment. Bhutan is famous for a range of activities. Some of the common activities the travelers prefer to do in Bhutan are trekking, hiking, pilgrimage, cultural tours, festival watch, sightseeing, photography, mountain biking, rafting, jungle safari, bungee jumping, paragliding, etc. Bhutan’s Himalayan landscape is dramatic and pristine. The culture of Bhutan is very much fascinating. Here is a short highlight of the things that can be done in Bhutan.
Bhutan Cultural Tours:
Bhutan is a very famous destination for cultural tours. The country has ancient practices of Buddhism intact even today. There are some very ancient monasteries, dzongs, and temples in Bhutan. Even, the cultural tours of Bhutan are also accompanied by sightseeing of major cities, monuments, and palaces. One can witness various historical places. Furthermore, one can enjoy the magnificent natural scene.
Cultural tours of Bhutan are one of the perfect packages to witness and acknowledge the ancient Buddhist practices, Buddhist arts, architecture, and hospitality. Some of the popular highlights of this tour are Tiger’s Nest Monastery, Punakha Dzong, Tashichho Dzong, Gangtey Monastery, etc. There are hundreds of Dzong, Monasteries, and ancient temples in Bhutan, and each of them are located relatively closer to each other. Thus, you can visit many monasteries at the same time.
Paro Thimpu Sightseeing Tour:
Thimpu, the capital city of Bhutan, and Paro, the economic hub of Bhutan are very important cities of Bhutan. All the important buildings, monuments, palaces, temples, ancient fortresses, etc are concentrated around Paro and Thimpu.
Paro Thimpu Sightseeing Tour has specially designed to give the complete glance of Bhutan to its visitors. The visitors can see the most beautiful arts and artifacts here. Anyone can enjoy the traditional Buddhist lifestyle. In addition to that Paro, Thimpu Sightseeing Tours are also famous to meet with the people, experience the ancient Buddhist hospitality, taste the special cuisine, experience music, art, and dance, festival walks, etc.
Some of the top attractions of the Paro Thimpu Sightseeing Tour are Bhutan Gate, Tashichho Dzong, Folk Heritage Museum, National Memorial Chorten, Paro Taktsang, Paro Airport Bird’s Eye Viewpoint, Rinpung Dzong, Paro Weekend Market, Archery Ground, National Museum of Bhutan, etc.
Bhutan offers excellent travel options. This small kingdom is like an apple of the eye for the tourists. Nature, culture, and people everything is too diverse and will leave a captivating effect on us.
Walking and Hiking Tours:
Bhutan is an amazing country. The country’s natural beauty is incomparable. It is hard to believe that such a small country has this kind of diversity. The natural scenes of Bhutan are mind hovering. On the whole, this tiny kingdom located in the lap of beautiful mountains is more beautiful than you have ever imagined.
There are beautiful mountain passes, lakes, national parks, river valleys, viewpoints, hill stations, etc. Therefore, Bhutan offers an excellent opportunity for walking and hiking tours. These tours have specially designed to enjoy the virgin glory of Bhutan. Moreover, these tours are best for health and mental refreshments. One thing is clear that this tour is not for the frail health. You might have heard that Bhutan demands a high level of physical and mental fitness. Bhutan is located at the remote and high altitude.
Some of the top attractions of Walking and Hiking Tours of Bhutan are Phobjikha Valley, National Museum of Bhutan, Dochula Pass, Royal Takin Preserve, Jigme Dorji National Park, Mo Chhu, Royal Manas National Park, Mount Jitchu Drake, Chele La Pass, etc.
Other Things to Do in Bhutan:
- Festival Watch
- Jungle Safari
- Photography Tour
Quick Facts about Bhutan
- Bhutan is the only Carbon Negative country in the world. It means that Bhutan absorbs more carbon dioxide than it produces.
- There are no traffic lights in Bhutan.
- Plastics are banned in Bhutan.
- The people of Bhutan are known as the happiest people in Asia as the country stands second in the world.
- Perhaps, Bhutan is the only country where the king abdicated the throne for democracy.
- One of the very interesting things about Bhutan is that people celebrate their birthday on the day of New Year in general.
- It is illegal to kill anything in Bhutan. They consume a lot of meat which is imported.
- Bhutan was the last country to introduce TV.
- Education and health facilities are all free to Bhutanese citizens.
- The capital city of Bhutan, Thimpu doesn’t have an Airport.
Last but not Least
Bhutan is a Himalayan Eden nestled between India and China. Likewise, the country is intact even today just because it remained away from the western civilizations for centuries. At the same time, the landscape of Bhutan is so amazing and the nature is so rich. Travelers can go to beautiful treks along snow-capped mountains that are carpeted with forests and flower-filled valleys. Also, Bhutan is rich in bio-diversity. One can see unique birds and mammals and unique Buddhist architecture typified by dzongs and monasteries everywhere. Amazing annual festivals – Tsechus and Dromchoes – and beautiful textiles and handicrafts breathe life into the country’s vibrant traditions. Thimphu, the capital, is the only world capital without traffic lights. Whatever you do and wherever you go, you will be mesmerized by a country and people whose love and respect for their faith and their land is all-encompassing.
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