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Everything you need to know about Bhutan: news, reviews, in-depth analysis, opinion and more

Bhutan: Himalayan Kingdom with Parliamentary Democracy

The Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan with capital at Thimpu is nestled between India and China and has many beautiful Buddhist Monasteries and Dzongs like the Taktshang monastery. Early Bhutanese had migrated from Tibet and some evidence prove its existence since 2000B.C. Britishers had attempted to control the country’s affairs, however, it could not colonize it until in late 1950’s as it was almost detached from the rest of the world. However, its people carried on their agricultural activities and retained their traditional values, which are preserved till date. Since 1907, Bhutan has been a monarchy ruled by the Wangchuk dynasty but in 2007 it became a Parliamentary democracy with King as the Constitutional Monarch.

Fast Facts About Bhutan:

    · National Name: Kingdom of Bhutan
    · Capital: Thimphu
    · Total area: 18,147 sq mi (47,000 sq km)
    · Total Population: 2,376,680
    · Currency: Ngultrum
    · Languages: Dzongkha (official), Tibetan dialects (among Bhotes), Nepalese dialects (among Nepalese)
    · Ethnicity/ Races: Bhote 50%, ethnic Nepalese 35%, indigenous or migrant tribes 15%
    · Religions: Lamaistic Buddhist 75%, Indian- and Nepalese-influenced Hinduism 25%
    · GDP (Per Capita): $5,200
    · Life Expectancy: 62 years (male), 67 years (female)
    · Literacy: 47% (2003 est.)

Geography and Climate of Bhutan:
Bhutan is referred as ‘Switzerland of Asia’ in context to its shape, area and mountainous location. This inland country, being landlocked by other countries has no access to sea. But Bhutan has considerable Hydropower potential and is exporting its surplus power to India. The southern part of the country is characterized by tropical plains and is largely arable, which constitutes only two percent of the agricultural land. Thimpu, its capital lies in the highlands, which is most populous part of the country.

Extreme weather in the mountains and humid temperatures in the coastal plains characterize the climate of Bhutan. The temperatures vary according to different terrains in the area. Generally, winters are cold, summers are hot and the occurrence of landslides becomes evident during the rainy season.

Culture and Cuisine of Bhutan:
Bhutanese people are known for having a rich cultural heritage, which has been handed down from the centuries. The Buddhist monasteries located here depict the ancient and spiritual aspect that conveys the pious teachings of Buddha. Besides this, this country boasts of having an egalitarian society where women have the right to land ownership and also typically an “anchor mother” heads a Bhutanese family.

Bhutan is a unique country in that it measures the country’s development in terms of Gross National Happiness instead of the regular GDP.

Bhutanese people celebrate Tshechus festival, which is held in honor of Guru Rimpochey, and usually almost all the local villagers participate in it along with innumerable tourists. Apart from this, music also forms a predominant part in their lives. Drukpa music is the popular one amongst the native music, which includes zhungdra, boedra and rigsar.

A typical Bhutanese dish consists of chicken, yak meat, dried beef, pork, pork fat, mutton and rice. They love spicy food and thereby the dishes include a varied range of spices such as chilli, cardamom, ginger, garlic, turmeric and caraway. A vegetarian dish ‘Ema Datshi’ is also popular. Besides this, the popular beverages include butter tea, brewed rice wine and beer.

Tourism in Bhutan:
Bhutan offers a plethora of tourist sites. However, it is in late 20th century only, the Bhutanese government has allowed an access to the tourists, as it wanted to preserve its unique culture. Some of the major sites are Thimpu and Paro valley that attract tourists from worldwide. Paro is the most modernized city of Bhutan and yet it retains the historical relics of the past.

Other Tourist Attractions in Bhutan include:

    · Tongsa
    · Bumthang Valley
    · Wangdiphodrang
    · Mongar
    · Punakha
    · Phajoding
    · Thrumsingla National Park
    · Chamkhar Town (Bumthang)
    · Memorial Chorten

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May 2, 2012 at 8:30 PM

New Delhi, May 2 (IANS) Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee is scheduled to visit Manila this week to attend the annual board of governors' meet of Asian Development Bank (ADB).


Poll panels of SAARC countries establish forum

May 2, 2012 at 3:46 PM

New Delhi, May 2 (IANS) SAARC countries Wednesday adopted a charter for mutual cooperation and set up a forum that will enhance capabilities to conduct free and fair elections.

Arunachal Scouts battalion takes charge of India's border along China

May 2, 2012 at 11:54 AM

Itanagar, May 2 (ANI): The Indian Army's 1st Arunachal Scouts battalion, two years after its formation, has taken charge of providing security to the unmanned, inhospitable and porous international border in the land-locked Himalayan state.

Four anti-talks NDFB cadres nabbed in Assam

April 30, 2012 at 4:58 PM

Guwahati, April 30 (IANS) Troops from the Red Horns division of the Indian Army, based in Udalguri district of lower Assam, have arrested four hardcore cadres of the anti-talks faction of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) from a remote location on the Indo-Bhutan border in the district, an official said Monday.

Paid news an emerging challenge: Quraishi

April 30, 2012 at 2:02 PM

New Delhi, April 30 (IANS) Paid news, a recent challenge thrown up before the Election Commission, is a "clandestine deal" between politicians and journalists, Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi said here Monday.

SAARC poll bodies' meet in Delhi from April 30

April 27, 2012 at 7:54 PM

New Delhi, April 27 (IANS) The Election Commission of India will host the third Conference of Heads of Election Management Bodies of SAARC Countries from April 30 to May 2 here.

Naraynasamy exhorts IAS probationers to be agents of change at grassroots level

April 26, 2012 at 10:09 PM

New Delhi, Apr 26 (ANI): Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, V. Naraynasamy, on Thursday exhorted the young IAS probationers to be agents of Change at grassroots level.

India, Bhutan to refresh friendship over fine print

April 25, 2012 at 11:36 AM

New Delhi, April 25 (IANS) A three-day confluence of narratives, ideas, literary expositions and cultural showcases from India and Bhutan will strengthen the growing South Asian cultural solidarity in the Himalayan kingdom next month.

Tibetans to get five-year registration certificates

April 22, 2012 at 6:44 PM

Dharamsala, April 22 (IANS) Tibetans born in India and those living in the country for more than 20 years can now get the registration certificates essential for their stay renewed after every five years, a Tibetan official said Sunday.

Now a festival on Buddhist philosophy, aesthetics

April 18, 2012 at 7:17 PM

New Delhi, April 18 (IANS) The capital is set to host its first ever international Buddhist film festival, aimed at promoting Buddhist philosophy and aesthetics.

Maoist movement growing in Assam: Gogoi

April 16, 2012 at 4:27 PM

New Delhi, April 16 (IANS) Concerned about the growing Maoist movement in Assam, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said Monday that the central government should include the state in the framework of development and security schemes that constitute the strategy against left-wing extremism.

India's neighbours express concern over SC order to link over 30 rivers

April 9, 2012 at 10:42 AM

New Delhi, Mar 31(ANI): An Indian Supreme Court order directing the government to link over 30 rivers and divert waters to parched areas has sparked off concerns in neighbouring countries.

Four persons nabbed, bomb recovered on ULFA raising day

April 7, 2012 at 8:09 PM

Guwahati, April 7 (IANS) Security forces in Assam arrested four persons and recovered a crude bomb Saturday on the anniversary of the raising day of the banned United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA).

Gallup poll declares Denmark happiest nation in the world, Togo unhappiest

April 3, 2012 at 1:12 PM

Los Angeles (US), Apr.3 (ANI): Scandinavian countries Denmark, Finland and Norway have been declared the three happiest nations in the world during the last six years (2005 to 2011), according to a Gallup poll.

Telecom links in all Indian villages by 2014: BSNL

March 25, 2012 at 6:08 PM

Agartala, March 25 (IANS) State-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has undertaken an ambitious Rs.20,000 crore project to establish telecom links in all villages across India and to take e-governance to rural and far-flung areas in the next two years, a BSNL official said here Sunday.

Arunachal and Bhutan agree to work towards boosting tourism through mutual cooperation

February 19, 2012 at 10:11 PM

Itanagar, Feb 19 (ANI): In a historic step to strengthen bilateral ties between Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh, a delegation from Bhutan headed by Chairman Dupthop today agreed to work towards enhancing tourist inflow through mutual cooperation.

Bhutan parliamentarians begin study tour of Arunachal Pradesh

February 16, 2012 at 6:02 PM

Itanagar, Feb 16 (ANI): Gross National Happiness (GNH) or happiness interwoven with balanced economic development was a concept introduced by Bhutan's King in 1972, as an alternative to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), said Bhutan's National Assembly member Dupthob at the start of four-day visit to Arunachal Pradesh as the leader of a five-member team.

SAARC meeting on strengthening anti-terror mechanism begins in Delhi

February 9, 2012 at 8:21 PM

New Delhi, Feb 9 (ANI): A meeting of high-level group of eminent experts from the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries to strengthen the anti-terror mechanism got underway here on Thursday.

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