Bhutan officially the Kingdom of Bhutan is a landlocked country in South Asia. It is bordered by the Tibetan Autonomous Region of China, the Sikkim state of India and the Chumbi Valley of Tibet, the Arunachal Pradesh state of India in the and the states of Assam and West Bengal. Thimphu is its capital and largest city, while Phuntsholing is its financial center. Bhutan is a small Kingdom in the Himalayas that borders China to the North and India to the East, South and West.
History and Government
The name 'Bhutan' appears to derive from the Sanskrit 'Bhotant' meaning 'the end of Tibet' or from 'Bhu-uttan' meaning 'high land'. Though known as Bhutan to the outside world, the Bhutanese themselves refer to their country as Druk Yul or the Land of the Thunder Dragon. 'Druk' meaning 'Dragon' and extending from the predominant Drukpa school of Tibetan Buddhism. Since 18 July 2008, the Government of Bhutan has been a constitutional monarchy with the King being the Head of State and the Prime Minister heads the executive branch of the government. The country’s head of state bears the title of Druk Gyalpo which translates to Dragon King. The position is hereditary, but the king retires at 65 years of age.
The Magical Kingdom, Bhutan is also known as the land of the Thunder Dragon. Tourism in Bhutan is considered to be one of the world’s most expensive countries to visit. It is the land of mighty lofty peaks, cascading waterfalls and sparkling streams. The landscape consists of a succession of lofty and rugged mountains and deep valleys. When you step into Bhutan, you will see the magical beauty of thickly forested mountains slopes in which roam tigers, red pandas, snow leopards, musk deer, the Himalayan brown bear, peacocks among others. The Kingdom of Bhutan is also known for its culture, architecture and archery.
Bhutan’s culture is strongly based on its Tibetan form of Mahayana Buddhism, which contains a sprinkling of Tibet’s ancient Bon shamanist religion. The country’s rich heritage, protected by Bhutan’s isolation from the modern world until the 1960s, is still very much in evidence. For most visitors to the country, Bhutan’s traditions and uniqueness are the main attractions, just ahead of its spectacular and mostly unspoiled natural beauty. Bhutanese national dress is still worn across the country, and its design is tightly linked to class and social status. Men wear a belted, knee-length robe and women wear ankle-length dresses, again belted at the waist.
Bhutanese cuisine is influenced by Chinese, Tibetan and Indian culture. The main dish, which generally includes white or red rice, seasonal vegetables, and meat (pork and chicken), are often cooked with chili or cheese. If you like Chinese food, you should be rather comfortable with Bhutanese food. However, do note that the Bhutanese like to cook their food with cheese so you would often see a portion of the selection containing cheese. You may want to bring comfort food such as dried pork and chilies if you are particular about food. Ema Datshi .
Best time to Visit Bhutan
October to December is the ideal time to visit Bhutan as the air is clean and fresh with sunny skies. January and February are colder, but from then until April the climate remains dry and pleasant and in late spring the famous rhododendrons bloom spectacularly, flooding the valleys with colour.
Bhutan is one of those countries that, once it has a hold on your heart and mind, will never let you go. To see this beautiful country is to fall in love with its spectacular landscape, spirituality and ancient vibrancy. The prominent Buddhist sacred site and temple complex is situated on the cliffside of the upper Paro valley. This beautiful site in its dramatic location is also known as ‘Tiger’s Nest’. A Dzong is a Buddhist monastery and fortress. This large dzong is also located in the Par district. This is an administrative centre and houses the district monastic body. There are fourteen shrines and chapels located within this complex and the great festival of tshechu is held here in March or April each year. Trongsa Dzong is the biggest fortress and monastery in Bhutan. It is found in the Trongsa District at the heart of the country and overlooks the gorge of the stunning Mangde River. The dzong is the centre of the administrative district and the monastic complex houses around 200 monks.