Hidden deep in the folds of the greater Himalaya mountains for years. Bhutan developed its own civilization. Living in close harmony with nature, evolved a unique identity, derived largely from a rich religious and cultural heritage. Today, the world is seeing many exotic aspects of this kingdom.
Located in the southern slopes of the eastern Himalayas, the kingdom is landlocked between the two great Asian civilizations, Tibet (China) to the north and the Indian States of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim & West Bengal in the East, West, & South.
|Latitude||26 ° 40″ and 28 ° 20″ north|
|Longitude||88° 45″ and 92° 10″ east.|
|Total area||38,394sq kms|
|Crow fly distance||North – South: 90 miles|
|East – West: 90 miles|
POPULATION OF BHUTAN
These are the latest figures revealed by the Population and Housing Census Report.
|Total urban population||196,111|
|Total rural population||438,871|
|Most populated dzongkhag (district) Thimphu (capital city)||98,676|
|Least populated dzongkhag (district) Gasa||3,116|
|Population density||16 person per sq.km|
|Rural to urban migrants||111,770|
|Urban to rural migrants||19,992|
|Most Bhutanese outside Bhutan||6905( India )|
|Population growth rate||1.3%|
|Total area:||38,394sq kms|
Bhutan has a small population but variety of people that makes up the country. People known as Drukpas and stone tools suggest that Bhutan was inhabited since 2000 B.C.
The Bhutanese currency is called NGULTRUM, and is at par with the Indian Rupee-BOTH are used in Bhutan.
1NU (Ngultrum) = 100 CH (Cheltrums)
1NU (Ngultrum) = 1Rupee (Indian)
$US1 = 48 Nu (Approx)
Bhutan is well connected and every town has IDD services.
INTERNET Cafes are available in most towns.
Cell/MOBILE phones can be used, provided they have a GSM 900 specification.
Bhutan has ONE time zone for the whole country. It is 6. Hours ahead of GMT (+6GMT)
Visitors are accommodated in Hotels and Resorts of 3 to 4 star category. However on visitors interest and request we provide accommodation in 5 star and other luxurious hotels for extra charges.
TOBACCO IMPORT- CUSTOMS
The sale of cigarettes and any other tobacco related products are forbidden in Bhutan.
For personal use, visitors are permitted to bring 200 cigarettes (10 packets) into the country on payment of 200% duty.
With a National Policy and any Law to always maintain 6% of the country under forest cover, it is not surprising that the Bhutan countryside is will protected and in pristine form. Approximately 9% of the land falls into biological corridors where wildlife sanctuaries and nature reserves flourish under such protected conditions.
CULTURES and TRADITIONS
Bhutan’s unique cultural heritage has remained intact and untarnished over the centuries, and today, one can witness many of those cultural traditions as they are practiced on a daily basis. They continue to have tremendous value and significance in the life of the people of this remarkable nation.
There are 19 Languages spoken in Bhutan, and yet in spite of such linguistic diversity, there is a common denominator of fun loving, friendly, and good-natured people. They represent a warmth that is unique- a warmth that embraces all who visit the country.
Climate: The climate varies, hot subtropical climate in the south to cold alpine slopes in the north. Human settlement is confined mostly to interior river valleys and a swath of southern plains; nomads and other tribes live in the north, raising sheep, cattle and yaks.
Bhutan experiences total annual rainfall of above 2000mm to as low as 1000mm. Permanent snow line is found above 4800m, 15840ft. The mean monthly temperature varies and the maximum temperature goes up to 35 degree Celsius and the minimum temperature goes as low as -1.4 degree Celsius.
Its physical geography consists mostly of steep and high mountains with a network of swift rivers, which form deep valleys before draining into the Indian plains. The land rises with three broad categories of Himalayas.
- The Sub Himalayas: It ranges from 200m, 660ft to 2000m, 6600ft above sea level. Average width is of 50kms.
- The Inner Himalayas: It ranges from 2001m, 6603ft to 4000m, 13200ft above sea level. Average width is of 70kms. It is marked by five major river systems, by flat mid Himalayan river valleys (Paro, Haa, Thimphu, Punakha, Wangdue and Bumthang). Between the valleys mountains rise to great heights and many mountain pass are found in the inner Himalayas (Dagala, Dochula, Pelela, Thrumsengla…).
People of Bhutan can be grouped into five broad divisions.
- The Northern region: People of north are popularly known as Bjops. Found in Laya, Lingshi and Lunana. They speak slight variation of Dzongkha. They are Yak herders by occupation and they have a standard Bhutanese dress but women from Laya retain their distinctive dress.
- The Western region: People of west are popularly known as Ngalong. Found in the valleys of Ha, Paro, Thimphu , Punakha and Wangdue.They are the migrants from Tibet . They speak slight variation of Dzongkha. It is the rice growing regions.
- The Central region: It comprises of part of Wangdue, whole of Trongsa, Bumthang, Zhemgang and part of Kurtoe.They speak a different language belonging to Bumthang group. They too are rice growing regions. They herd yaks and sheep and also produce special products from bamboo, yaks and sheep.
- The Eastern region: They are known as Sharchops (people who live in the eastern side). The area comprises of Mongar, Trashigang, Pemagatshel ans Samdrup jongkhar. They refer to Tshangla speaking people which are spoken beyond the border of Bhutan in the Dirang district of Arunachal Pradesh ( India ). Sharchops shares a close cultural and linguistic affinity with the people of northern Burma and northern Laos . They cultivate maize and rear livestock. Special products that they produce are wood products and silk textile.
Rice is the staple food but Bhutanese are very fond of meat, especially dried meat. Pork, beef, chicken, and fish are served with chillies, a ubiquitous and fiery part of every dish.
Change and Challenges
It is inevitable that Bhutan is changing. Three decades of development have had a dramatic impact on the kingdom.
A comprehensive network of roads, schools and hospitals reaching their services to the people, a modern telecommunication system, increasing contact with international community, urbanization, and a growing private sector cannot but bring change.
Bhutan has long decided that economic achievement is no replacement for its unique national identity. In the past, the kingdom fought aggression, in different forms, to safeguard its interests, its priorities, and its identity. The future will be no different.
Tags: About Bhutan