About Bhutan

About Bhutan

Bhutan is a small Himalayan country lies between the two giant nations of the world- India to the south and China to the north. Bhutan is popularly known to outside world by name - The Last Shangrila or the Land of Happiness. In this 21 Century, Bhutan has been one of the top tour destinations for the tourist from all over the world because of several unique and beautiful features of Bhutanese. 


The traditional name of the country (Bhutan) since the 17th century has been Drukgyel, Land of the Drukpa (Dragon People), and a reference to the dominant branch of Tibetan Buddhism that is still practiced in the Himalayan kingdom.

For centuries, Bhutan was made up of feuding regions until it was unified under the King Ugyen Wang chuck in 1907. The British exerted some control over Bhutan's affairs, but never colonized it. Until the 1960s, Bhutan was largely isolated from the rest of the world, and its people carried on a tranquil, traditional way of life, farming and trading, which had remained intact for centuries. New roads and other connections to India began to end its isolation. In the 1960s, Bhutan also undertook social modernization, abolishing slavery and the caste system, emancipating women, and enacting land reform. In 1985, Bhutan made its first diplomatic links with non-Asian countries.

In 1998, King Jigme Singye Wangchuk, who is Bhutan's fourth hereditary ruler, voluntarily curtailed his absolute monarchy, and in March 2005 released a draft constitution (not yet put to a referendum) 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.

Parliamentary elections, Bhutan's first national election, were held in March 2008, with turnout at about 80%. The pro-monarchy Druk Phuensum Tshogpa, translated as the Bhutan Peace and Prosperity Party, won 45 out of 47 seats in Parliament, trouncing the People’s Democratic Party. The election marked Bhutan's transition from an absolute monarchy to a democracy. In April, Lyonpo Jigme Yoezer Thinley, of the Peace and Prosperity Party, became the 1st elected prime minister. A new constitution went into effect in July. Universal suffrage was implemented under the new constitution. Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wang chuck was crowned as king in November. At age of 28, he became the world's youngest monarch.

In 2013, the second parliamentary election was held. Unlike in first election, there were five political parties participating in the election. The parties were: Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT), People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Druk Nymrup Tshogpa (DNT), Druk Chirwang Tshogpa (DCT) and Bhutan Kingyum Party (BKP). In the first round of general election, the PDP and DPT won and went for final election. In the final election, PDP won the 32 seat out of 47 seats. Thereby, PDP becoming the ruling party while DPT was the opposition party in the parliament of Bhutan. Tshering Tobgay, is the current and second Prime Minister of Bhutan.


Mountainous Bhutan, half the size of Indiana, is situated on the southeast slope of the Himalayas, bordered on the north and east by Tibet and on the south and west and east by India. The landscape consists of a succession of lofty and rugged mountains and deep valleys. In the north, towering peaks reach a height of 24,000 ft (7,315 m).


Bhutan, as located in the Himalayan Region has rich biodiversity. To the south, the plains of Indian and to the north, the snow capped Himalayan region makes Bhutan, one of the hottest spot for the bio diversity.

Forest ecosystem is the most dominant ecosystem in the Bhutan with 70.46 percent of the total area under forest cover. The temperate zone lying between 2000m to 4000m contains the temperate conifer and broad leaf forest. The subtropical zone, which lies between 150m to 2000m, contains the sub-tropical and tropical vegetation. Mixed conifer and broadleaf forests are the two dominant forest types, constituting 62.43 and 22.69 percent of the total forest cover respectively.

Bhutan's Ecosystem

Alpine Ecosystem: The alpine ecosystem in Bhutan is found in areas above 4000m. It is rich in many species of grasses and herbs with over 200 medicinal plants used for traditional medicine found in this region. It is also the habitat of the famous Chinese caterpillafungus (Ophiocordyceps sinensis), and a haven for wild fauna, such as the snow leopard, blue sheep and takin.

Aquatic Ecosystem: Bhutan has different forms of aquatic habitats scattered throughout the country, ranging from rivers, lakes, marshlands to hot springs. Agricultural Ecosystem: The country is has six major agro-ecological zones corresponding with altitude range and climatic conditions. The agricultural ecosystem in the country extends from as low as 600m to about 4500m above sea level.


Bhutan has one of the world’s smallest and least-developed economies. Until a few decades ago, it was agrarian with few roads, little electricity, and no modern hospitals. Recent inter-regional economic cooperation, particularly involving trade with Bangladesh and India, is helping to encourage economic growth. Connections to global markets are limited and dominated significantly by India.

Bhutan’s economic development is guided by the concept of Gross National Happiness. Literally, according to GNH concept of economic development, all development should bring happiness to the general public. Bhutan believes in sustainability.


Bhutanese believe that happiness is contributed by the preservation of cultural and traditional values. Developing cultural resilience, which can be understood as the culture’s capacity to maintain and develop cultural identity, knowledge and practices, and able to overcome challenges and difficulties from other norms and ideals. Cultural expression in Bhutan is a unique and sacred as the holy kingdom. Culture is preserved in formal ways through the requirement to wear the traditional clothing during work hours; for all buildings to adhere to the national architecture standards; and mandatory mindfulness training in schools.

Festivals or “Tshechu” are an important colorful social annual event in Bhutan: displaying a rich culture and heritage through dance, song and performance. Tshechu are held in each district or Dzongkhag of Bhutan. No country in the world has as unique culture and tradition as Bhutan, and Bhutanese are very conscious in preserving, upholding and promoting these culture and tradition as their identity.


MAHAYAN BUDDHISM is the state religion of Bhutan. The introduction of Buddhism occurred in the seventh century A.D., when Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo (reigned A.D. 627-49), a convert to Buddhism, ordered the construction of two Buddhist temples, at Bumthang in central Bhutan and at Kyichu in the Paro Valley. It was the Buddhist literature and chronicles that began the recorded history of Bhutan.

In A.D. 747, a Buddhist saint, Padmasambhava (known in Bhutan as Guru Rimpoche and sometimes referred to as the Second Buddha), came to Bhutan from India at the invitation of one of the numerous local kings. After reportedly subduing eight classes of demons and converting the king, Guru Rimpoche moved on to Tibet.

Upon his return from Tibet, he oversaw the construction of new monasteries in the Paro Valley and set up his headquarters in Bumthang. According to tradition, he founded the Nyingma sect--also known as the "old sect" or Red Hat sect--of Mahayana Buddhism, which became for a time the dominant religion of Bhutan. Guru Rimpoche plays a great historical and religious role as the national patron saint who revealed the tantras--manuals describing forms of devotion to natural energy--to Bhutan. Therefore, the Mahayana Buddhism became the state religion of Bhutan.

Gross National Happiness

If there is one thing Bhutan is known for outside country, it is Gross National Happiness. With his famous declaration in the 1970s, the former King of Bhutan (His Majesty King Jigme Singye Wang chuck) challenged conventional, narrow and materialistic notions of human progress. He realized and declared that the existing development paradigm – GNP (or GDP) – did not consider the ultimate goal of every human being: happiness.

Perhaps inspired by age-old wisdom in the ancient Kingdom of Bhutan, the fourth King concluded that GDP was neither an equitable nor a meaningful measurement for human happiness, nor should it be the primary focus for governance; and thus the philosophy of Gross National Happiness: GNH is born.

Since that time this pioneering vision of GNH has guided Bhutan’s development and policy formation. Unique among the community of nations, it is a balanced ‘middle path’ in which equitable socio-economic development is integrated with environmental conservation, cultural promotion and good governance.

Bhutan remained largely isolated from the world; GNH remained largely an intuitive insight and guiding light. It reminded the government and people alike that material progress was not the only, and not even, the most important contributor to well-being.Therefore, the GNH (Gross National Happiness) is the guiding philosophy for the developmental activities.

 Current Status


Name of Country



King (Monarch)

His Majest – King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuk


Present Government

People Democratic Party


Prime Minister

HE Lynchen Tshering Tobgay


Total Area

 38394 km2


Total Population




Ngultrum (Nu)


Economic per Capita income

 Nu.172814 as of 2015 per persons per annum


National Flower

Blue Poppy


National Animal



National Bird



National Sport



National Language











Go to top