Country Background Introduction

Kingdom of Bhutan with an area of 38,394sqkm in South Asia is located in the eastern Himalayas sandwiched between China in the north & India in the south. These two countries are the largest population in the world & Bhutan with barely 7million population existing as a buffer zone, independent & sovereign country itself is a history and a miracle. Bhutan is a mountainous country with elevation rising from 100 meters to 7326 meters with more than 70 percent under forest cover. The country is relatively compact with a distance of 150 Kim’s from north to south & 300 Kim’s from east to west. Bhutan is world’s last Mahayana Buddhist kingdom. His majesty the fourth Druk gyelpo (king) Jigme Singye Wangchuck gifted democracy to the people. The first parliamentary elections was held in 2008. The economy of the country is largely dependent on Tourism & Hydropower. The GDP growth rate is 5.5 percent in 2019. Today, Bhutan is promoted as the last shangrila, land of gross national happiness, land of the peaceful dragon to the outside world. Bhutan is rated highly by the National Geography as one of the most sought tourists destiny in the world. The CNN has rated Bhutan as the most favorite tourist destination for 2021.

World’s youngest democracy

Bhutan became the world’s newest democracy, and symbolically, in the spring of 2008. In what was a historic moment for the country, the Bhutanese monarchy introduced constitutional democracy, 100 years since the hereditary monarchy was established in 1907 through an expression of confidence in the monarchy by way of election. Since then, the country has witnessed three democratic elections so far, the most recent being in 2018.

The Dragon Kingdom

When ancient Tibetan saints wandered down south and meditated in mountain caves, it is said they heard loud thunders rippling across the mountains below. They obviously thought the place was inhabited by dragons. And so the kingdom, clasped within the folds of the lush, stunning Himalayan mountains, remained closed to the world outside, known secretly to a few, as the land of the thunder dragon. Today, it is referred to, often with awe and adulation, as the last Shangri-la.

The population of about 700,000 people, the country’s ancient history, a blend of mythical and classical Buddhist literature, informs of a largely self-sufficient nation, which had little or no contact

with the outside world until the ’60s. To this day, the fact that a tiny kingdom, wedged between two giant nations of the world, China in the north and India in the south, still feeds the mystery and global curiosity of how, for centuries, it remained a sovereign state.

A society of strong oral tradition, living in close harmony with nature engendered its own identity, customs and cultural heritage, including the country’s guiding philosophy of Gross National Happiness. Its unique culture, pristine ecology, protected wildlife and untouched sylvan settings give Bhutan all the attributes of a mythical kingdom of the past.

Buddhism & spiritualism

Bhutan is a spiritual nation. It is increasingly becoming known for its pure practice of Mahayana Buddhism, often referred to as the last bastion of tantric Buddhism. The influence of religion is evident in everyday lives of the people. The essence of the living faith manifests them- selves in the fluttering prayer flags on hills and high passes and the stupas and monuments that dot the countryside.

To understand Bhutan and its people, it is essential to have a basic understanding of Buddhism because Buddhist values define Bhutanese beliefs, customs and culture evinced in their daily lives. We can time and arrange for our guests to experience the partici- pate in our religious ceremonies and festivals that are observed and celebrated at different times of the year across the country.

At a glance

Capital: Thimphu Population: 750,000

National language: Dzongkha

Currency: Ngultrum (Nu), where 1 USD is about Nu 82.86

Country code: +975

National sport: Archery

National Dress: Men (Gho) Women (kira)