• Bhutan
  • People
  • Culture and Tradition
  • Flora And Fauna
  • Gross National Happiness
  • Food
  • Bhutan has been enchanting visitors since the 17th century. Those original visitors were a few in number as a visit to Bhutan entailed hardship and required adventurous spirit. Even today tourists are a few in number, often seeking to satisfy the same urge of adventure which their predecessors experienced. In today’s world of homogenized cultures and contrived re-enactments of outgrown traditions, Bhutan’s pure and genuine cultural heritage is a priceless jewel. Come, see, explore and discover it for yourself!

    The Bhutanese are profoundly religious, and Mahayana Buddhism is deeply rooted in every aspect of their life. The kingdom, for outstanding success in preserving its natural environment, owes much to its religion which embodies respect for all living beings.

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  • Importers of Buddhism to the kingdom, they migrated in the late 19th century from the Tibetan plains. You find them mainly in Western Bhutan. In the early 20th century, the Lhotshampa nestled in the southern plains of Bhutan, looking for agricultural land and work. They are of Nepalese origin and you’ll recognise them by their ‘topi’, a very specific headgear. This minority group was so heavily discriminated in the late 1980’s, that in 1990 they massively fled to Nepal. Nowadays they still can’t return back to Bhutan and live mostly in Nepalese refugee camps of the United Nations.

    Bhutan is a relatively egalitarian society where women enjoy equal rights with men in every respect. Because the kingdom is gender balanced, there never was any need for the upliftment of woman. They are actively involved in all ranges of Bhutans socio-economic development. The kingdom also never had a rigid class system. People's rank of birth doesn’t influence their opportunities on the social and educational ladder.

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  • Everything about Bhutanese culture is seeped in the traditional, starting from language and literature to the arts and crafts, ceremonies and events, and basic social and cultural values. Very much alive and breathing, Bhutanese culture of fine arts, for instance is manifested, for example, in exquisite traditional painting visible on monasteries and houses, skillfully enhancing the architecture.

    It is illegal in Bhutan to sell or buy tobacco products and smoking in public places is banned too. The religious leaders of the country have always had much of their say in the political affairs of Bhutan and have been political leaders in the past too. So, the lifestyle conforms to the religious beliefs mostly. The country had isolated itself for years to preserve its uniqueness of culture and to keep its traditions alive but has only recently opening up to the outside world.

    Bhutanese government however controls the foreign influence with a keen eye and is trying hard to keep it under control. This is the reason the old-world feel in Bhutan is still intact. Bhutanese inherit strange and peculiar customs that have their origin in the country’s history and mythological legends and folk tales of the country.

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  • The biodiversity of Bhutan is rich in flora and fauna. Horticulturists are welcomed to study and witness more than 60% of plant species, approx 46 species of Rhododendrons and more than 300 medicinal plants found in Eastern Himalayas. This feeble ecosystem has remained unspoiled due to the conservation efforts of both Bhutanese people and Bhutan government.

    Among plants Junipers, Magnolias, Orchids, Edelweiss, Gentian, Daphne, Pine, Oak trees, various medicinal plants and the Blue Poppies which is considered the National Flower is found in the region. The vivid variations of faunas like snow leopards, blue sheep, red pandas, takin, marmots and musk deer’s are found here. In the temperate zones, leopards, gray langurs, Himalayan Black Bear, Gorals, Sambars, Red Pandas, Wild pigs and Barking Deer’s are found. Clouded Leopards, Elephants, One horned Rhinoceros, Hog Deer, Water Buffalos, Golden langurs, horn bills are among the many species found in the southern tropical forest of Bhutan.

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  • His Majesty the third DrukGyalpoJigmeDorjiWangchuck expressed his view on the goals of development as making “the people prosperous and happy.” With this strong view in mind, the importance of “prosperity and happiness,” was highlighted in the King’s address on the occasion of Bhutan’s admission to the United Nations in 1971.

    While the emphasis is placed on both, prosperity and happiness, the latter is considered to be more significant. The fourth DrukGyalpo emphasized that for Bhutan “Gross National Happiness,” is more important than “Gross National Product.” Thus, Gross National Happiness is now being fleshed out by a wide range of professionals, scholars and agencies across the world.

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  • A traditional Bhutanese meal includes rice and chillies, which are known for their heat. Hot chillies are a fundamental part of every meal and are consumed either wholly with salt, or in a chilli and cheese curry. Chilli peppers are consumed in large quantities and are treated as a vegetable, not simply as a spice.

    The most typical Bhutanese curry is Ema Datsi, which means chilli and cheese. There are many variations of this with the addition of other vegetables including potatoes for Kewa Datsi and mushrooms for Shamu Datsi. Eaten in the traditional way these curries are all very hot, but can be adjusted according to your taste.

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