59 Fascinating Bhutan Facts: Explore Its History, Food, And Culture | Kidadl


59 Fascinating Bhutan Facts: Explore Its History, Food, And Culture

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Bhutan, or the Kingdom of Bhutan, is an Asian country located in the Eastern Himalayan mountains.

Bhutan is a landlocked country that shares its borders with China and India. Bhutan is referred to as the 'land of the thunder dragon.' The country's culture has been heavily influenced by Tibetan Buddhism and some other traditions and customs of the Tibetan culture.

Bhutan has a total population of 754,000, which helps it to the 160th rank in the world population charts. Since its inception, the country has practiced constitutional monarchy and follows Vajrayana Buddhism as its state religion. Buddhist teachings can be found all over Bhutan and Tibet. The practice of Buddhism originated during the time of Gautama Buddha in the Indian subcontinent, which included Bhutan, China, Bangladesh, and several other countries as well.

When Buddhism was declining in India, the Vajrayana schools of Buddhism were spread to Bhutan, Tibet, parts of Nepal, and the Indian state of Sikkim. Bhutan's official and dominant religion is Buddhism, which is practiced by around 74.8% of the country's population; the following largest community practices Hinduism comprising 22.6% of Hinduism.

Even though Bhutan isn't one of the largest Asian countries, it is one of the founding countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). Additionally, of all the countries in the SAARC, Bhutan ranks first in the categories of ease of doing business, lack of corruption, economic freedom, and even peace. Despite such high rankings, Bhutan's economy is one of the smallest in the world, but at the same time, it was recorded as one of the fastest-growing economies during the 2000s.

Its economy is primarily based on agriculture, tourism, forestry, and most importantly, the sale of hydroelectric power to its neighbor India as Bhutan has one of the largest water reserves required for hydropower in the entire world. Many regard Bhutan as the Himalayan kingdom or the lost paradise owing to the country's unspoiled nature and authentic cultural preservation. Many past tourists have suggested it as a must to visit Bhutan at least once during their lifetime.

The Geographic Location Of Bhutan

Bhutan enjoys a unique geographical location in the eastern Himalayan range at varying altitudes, which is one of the primary reasons behind Bhutan's varying ecosystems and biodiversity. Bhutan shares its land borders with the Tibetan region, which is under Chinese control, and several Indian states, on the other hand. Let's take a closer look at the Geographical positioning of Bhutan and some of its potentially unknown facts.

  • Towards the north, Bhutan is bordered by China's Tibet Autonomous Region. It is the Eastern Himalayas that form the border of these Asian countries.
  • On the southern and western sides of Bhutan, it shares its borders with the Indian states of West Bengal, Sikkim, and Assam.
  • Moving towards the eastern side of Bhutan, the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh shares its land borders with this country situated in the Himalayas.
  • The terrains of Bhutan primarily comprise of high steep rising mountains, which give birth to many rivers that ultimately travel to the Indian plains.
  • Did you know Bhutan enjoys a pretty diverse climate, mainly because it enjoys a drastic change in its elevation at various points? The country is relatively small in size but rises from 660 ft (200 m) to 23,000 ft (7,000 m), signaling a massive range of biodiversity.
  • The highest peak of Bhutan, Gangkhar Puensum, is located towards the northern part of the country, pretty close to its borders with China.
  • Gangkhar Puensum has an altitude of 24,840 ft (7,570 m) which has also earned it the highest unclimbed mountain in the world.
  • The valley of Drangme Chu marks the lowest point of Bhutan, located merely 322 ft (98 m) above sea level.
  • The Black Mountains of Bhutan are home to peaks located at the height of around 4,921 - 16,158 ft (1,500 - 4,925 m) above sea level.
  • Did you know the mountains in the central part of Bhutan are divided into two parts? The higher part of the Bhutan mountains is home to the Eastern Himalayan subalpine conifer forests, whereas the lower altitude areas are home to the Eastern Himalayan broadleaf forests.
  • Did you know Bhutan covers approximately half the land area of Carolina? The country is spread in an area of 18,400 sq mi (38,400 sq km).
  • Unlike most countries, Bhutan isn't divided into states, but it is divided into a total of 20 districts which are locally known as dzongkhags.
  • Did you know Bhutan is considered one of the greenest countries in the world, with around 70% of its land area covered with forests?
  • Bhutan is also the only country in the world that is not striving towards becoming carbon neutral because it is already a carbon-negative country. Bhutan takes in more carbon dioxide than it gives out, becoming the first country of its kind.
  • Did you know only eight pilots in the world are licensed to fly flights that take off and land at Paro airport in Bhutan?
  • The Paro airport is located in a valley where mountains tower to a height of around 18,000 ft (5,500 m). The pilots have to tackle the height of the mountains while flying and deal with the heavy winds that blow.

History Of Bhutan

The country of Bhutan has enjoyed a rich history in the past, and even today, the country has a king along with an elected government. The Bhutanese government and the king of Bhutan live in harmony and run the country together. Let us take a look at some facts about the history of Bhutan dating several centuries back from the current day.

  • Archaeologists believe that the land of Bhutan was inhabited since as early as 2000 BC due to the discovery of stone tools and weapons, which date back to that period.
  • Did you know Buddhism, now the primary religion of Bhutan, was introduced to this Asian country during the seventh century AD?
  • Interestingly, in 1827, there was a fire in Punakha, the ancient capital city of Bhutan, which led to the destruction of all ancient facts.
  • There was great hostility between Bhutan and British India during the 18 and 19 centuries, but it all came to an end following the defeat of Bhutan at the Duar War. Eventually, a treaty was signed between Bhutan and British India, ending all hostilities.
  • The country of Bhutan underwent several civil wars during the 1870s and 1880s.
  • The year 1907 marked one of Bhutan's most important historical events when Ugyen Wangchuk was chosen as the country's hereditary king unanimously.
  • Three years later, Bhutan signed the treaty of Punakha, following which it was recognized as a princely state of India, and the country's foreign affairs were under the control of the British.
  • After India's independence from the British in 1947, Bhutan eventually separated itself as a different country.
  • In the year 1953, the then king of Bhutan, Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, established the country's first-ever legislature comprising of a National assembly of 130 people to initiate democracy in the country.
  • Eventually, in 1965, a Royal Advisory Council was set up, and three years later, Bhutan had a Cabinet to run the country.
  • In 1971, Bhutan became a member of the United Nations after being an observer for a period of three years.
  • Did you know Bhutan was one of the last countries in the world to be introduced to the internet and television as these bans were uplifted as late as 1999?
  • One of the other most unique facts about Bhutan is that there are no chain stores even in its capital city of Thimphu, which is one of the ways Bhutan has resisted globalization to date.
  • In 2005, a new constitution was introduced in Bhutan, transforming the country from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy. The then king, Jigme Singye Wangchuk, transferred most of his administrative powers to the elected Council of Cabinet Ministers.
  • Bhutan had its first-ever national parliamentary elections in the year 2007-08.
  • The capital city of this Asian country is Thimphu, which unsurprisingly is also the largest city in the country.
  • Interestingly, the national animal of Bhutan is Takin and its national sport, Archery.
Did you know the Dzong monastery is one of the largest Buddha monasteries in Asia?

Details About The Current King Of Bhutan

Since 1907, Bhutan has had a monarchial king appointed in the presence of all leading government officials and the primary Buddhist monk. Bhutan changed from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy in recent years. A year later, Bhutan welcomed its fifth king when the Bhutanese government and the monarchy have coexisted in harmony.

  • The current king of Bhutan is known as the Dragon King of the Druk Gyalpo of the Kingdom Of Bhutan, and he is the fifth king of Bhutan.
  • The name of the current Bhutanese king is Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuk. He succeeded the throne after his father and fourth king of Bhutan, Jigme Singye Wangchuk.
  • Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuk is the eldest son of his father and took over as the king of Bhutan on December 9, 2006, at the age of 26.
  • On November 6, 2008, there was a public coronation of Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuk as the new king of Bhutan. The occasion also marked 100 years of monarchy in Bhutan.
  • Jigme Khesar was born to the third wife of Jigme Singye Wangchuk, Queen Ashi Tshering Yangdon, on February 21, 1980. The prince does have a long list of siblings, including a number of half brothers and sisters.
  • King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuk has a younger sister named Princess Ashi Dechen Yangzom and a younger brother named Price Gyaltshab Jigme Dorji. Additionally, he also has three half brothers and four half-sisters.
  • Jigme Khesar completed his higher secondary studies in the capital city of Thimphu at Yangchenphug High School.
  • Jigme Khesar traveled to the United States for his high school and studied at Cushing Academy in Ashburnham and Philips Academy in Andover.
  • For further studies, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuk joined Wheaton College in Massachusetts.
  • Eventually, Jigme Khesar joined the fourth most affluent college in the world, Magdalen College, Oxford, to complete his Diplomatic Studies Programme.
  • Did you know, in 2002, Jigme Khesar Namygel Wangchuk officially represented Bhutan at the 27th United Nations General Assembly and delivered a speech on the welfare of children all across the world?
  • Later the same year, in June 2002, Jigme Khesar's father awarded him the Red Scarf.
  • In May 2011, King Jigme Khesar announced his engagement to Jetsun Pema, and the couple later married on October 13, 2011.
  • Did you know Jetsun Pema, the wife of Jigme Khesar, became the youngest queen consort across the world at the age of 21?
  • The couple had their first child on February 5, 2016, a son, who was later named Jigme Namgyel Wangchuk and is later expected to become the next king of Bhutan.
  • Three years later, Jetsun Pema gave birth to her second son, Jigme Ugyen Wangchuk, on March 19, 2020.

Famous Destinations In Bhutan

Bhutan is a country nestled in the Himalayas in South Asia. It is one of the best countries to visit owing to its clean and green environment and unmatched natural beauty. Many people believe it is the motive of conserving the environment which makes Bhutan one of the happiest countries in the world and earns a high ranking in the Gross National Happiness measure. Ranging from the majestic Bhutanese culture to the finger-licking Bhutan food, the country automatically makes its way to the top of your bucket list, and with good reason.

  • When in Bhutan, your first destination should be Thimphu's capital city, an amalgamation of old-world charms and modernity.
  • Did you know there are no traffic signals in Bhutan? A human traffic controller takes care of all the traffic instead of the red, yellow, and green traffic lights.
  • Some of the must-visit places in the capital city include Motithang Takin Preserve, Dechencholing Palace, and Buddha Dordenma.
  • You can also find several mesmerizing Buddhist monasteries in Thimphu, such as Cheri, Dechen Phodrang, and Tango.
  • One of the most visited places in Bhutan is Paro, and it is the town with the only international airport in Bhutan.
  • Paro is home to some of the famous temples, museums, monasteries, and monuments of Bhutan, including Pelri Goemba, Khangkhu Lhakhang, Druk Chording. The national museum of Bhutan is also located in Paro.
  • It is also one of Bhutan's most naturally beautiful places, with lush green fields, sky-high mountains, and clean, fresh air.
  • Punakha is the perfect go-to place for tourists who love some adrenaline rush. Activities such as river rafting are offered at this place.
  • You can also visit the ancient Punakha Dzong fortress in Punakha, located near the Mo and Pho rivers.
  • The other best places to visit in Bhutan are Jakar, Trongsa, Wangdue Phodrang, Phobjikha, and Jigme Dorji National Park. Bhutan's government is massively credited for developing all these widely traveled tourist destinations.
Written By
Aryan Khanna

<p>A dedicated and hardworking content writer currently pursuing his Bachelor's in Management Studies from St. Xavier's University, Kolkata. Aryan aims to gain corporate exposure and enhance his skills while creating well-researched and engaging content that is SEO-friendly. Aryan is a talented individual who puts in the effort to overcome any obstacle in his way.</p>

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