BHUTAN

Date of establishment: December 17, 1907

Brief history:

  • 8th to 9th century: Buddhism becomes the dominant religion in the region, influencing the future development of Bhutan.
  • 17th century: Rise of Bhutan as an independent kingdom under the rule of the second Druk Gyalpo (King) Ngawang Namgyel.
  • 18th century: Bhutan clashes with neighboring kingdoms and the Qing Empire and Tibet. There are military conflicts and the conclusion of treaties.
  • 1907: Coronation of Ugyen Wangchuck as the first king of Bhutan, symbolizing the emergence of modern Bhutan.
  • 1949: Bhutan signs a treaty with India that includes a defense pact and economic cooperation.
  • 1950–1953: Bhutan undergoes a period of political and social reform under the third king, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck.
  • 1971: Bhutan becomes a member of the United Nations (UN).
  • 1985–1990: Bhutan implements the “One Nation, One People” policy, leading to ethnic conflict and the expulsion of the ethnic Nepali Lhotshampa.
  • 1998: The Government of Bhutan establishes a constitution and a constitutional monarchy.
  • 2008: Bhutan holds its first elections, transitioning from an absolute monarchy to a parliamentary democracy.

 

International abbreviation: BHT

 

Currency: Bhutanese Ngultrum (BTN)

The ngultrum is divided into 100 chetrums.

The Bhutanese Ngultrum has a fixed exchange rate with the Indian Rupee, which means that both currencies are mutually accepted and valid within the territory of Bhutan.

 

Internet domain: .bt

 

Dialing code: +975

 

Time zone: GMT +6

 

Geography:

Bhutan lies east of the Himalayas and includes parts of this vast mountain system. The country is home to several high mountains, including Gangkhar Puensum, which, at over 7 500 meters (24 600 feet) above sea level, is the highest unexplored mountain in the world.

Between the mountain massifs there are valleys that are used agriculturally. The most famous are the Paro Valley, where Paro International Airport is located, and the Thimphu Valley, where the capital of Bhutan, Thimphu, is located.

It is crossed by many rivers that originate in the Himalayas. The most important rivers include Paro Chhu, Wang Chhu, and Sankosh.

There are several lakes, the most important of which is Rinpung Dzong, which is located near the city of Paro.

It is known for its unspoiled nature and rich biodiversity. There are many protected areas and national parks that serve to protect rare species of flora and fauna.

 

Highest peak: Gangkhar Puensum 7 553 meters (24 780 feet) above sea level.

It is located on the border between Bhutan and China in the Himalayas.

This mountain is among the highest unexplored peaks in the world.

 

Climate:

The lower valleys in the southern part, including the towns of Gelephu and Phuentsholing, have tropical and subtropical climates. The summer months are warm and humid, while the winters are mild and dry.

The central parts, where the capital Thimphu is located, have a mild climate. Summer months are warmer, while winters can be cold with possible snow.

Mountainous regions, especially high in the Himalayas, have an alpine climate. The summer months there are short and cool, while the winters are long and very cold with snow and glaciers.

It has a monsoon climate, which means that summer can be rainy and humid, while winter is usually dry.

 

Fauna and flora:

The Himalayan bear is a large carnivorous animal and is an endangered species that inhabits the region.

It is home to the endangered Bengal tiger, which inhabits the forests in the southern part of the country.

Yaks are used for milk, meat, wool, and field work in mountainous areas.

The red panda is a small mammal that is an endangered species and is considered a symbol of Bhutan. Red pandas inhabit montane forests and are vulnerable to habitat loss.

The country is home to more than 770 species of birds, including black and white storks, golden eagles, and several pheasant species, such as the golden pheasant.

The country is known for its extensive rhododendron forests. These flowers bloom in a variety of colors and are an iconic feature of the Bhutanese landscape.

Larch forests are found in mountainous areas, which are important for the ecosystem and soil protection.

In the southern part of the country, where the subtropical climate prevailed, there are rainforests with rich fauna and flora.

 

Agriculture:

Rice is a staple food and forms the main part of the diet. The Bhutanese grow different varieties of rice in terraced fields. Rice cultivation is seasonal and requires intensive work during the rainy season. Apart from rice, other crops such as wheat, barley, millet, maize, potatoes, beans, and peas are also grown. Crops such as chili peppers and vegetables are also common in Bhutanese cuisine. Various types of fruit trees such as apple, pear, apricot and cherry, and grapes are grown in the country.

The government supports organic farming and tries to minimize the use of pesticides and artificial fertilizers.

 

Extraction of raw materials:

The extraction of raw materials has its specific features and limitations, which are related to environmental protection and the preservation of beautiful countryside and landscape.

It has significant reserves of mineral resources, mainly coal, dolomite, limestone, quartz, and iron ore. Coal mining was one of the main industrial activities. However, Bhutan has emphasized a sustainable approach to mining to minimize negative environmental impacts.

 

Industry:

It has a significant potential in the area of electricity generation thanks to its water resources. The production of electricity is one of the country’s main industries.

The food industry and processing of agricultural products play a significant role in the industrial sector. It specializes in various products including dairy, legumes, and tea.

The construction industry is important in the development of a country’s infrastructure, including roads, bridges, schools, and hospitals.

Forestry and the wood processing industry are also important. The country is trying to manage the area sustainably and minimize deforestation.

 

Services and other sectors of the economy: underdeveloped

 

Natural and historical attractions: Paro city, Punakha Dzong, and Dochula Pass

Bhutan has a system of limited tourism that includes a set number of visitors allowed and minimum stay requirements. This system was put in place to maintain sustainability and to minimize the negative impacts of mass tourism.

Tourists who want to visit the country have to pay a relatively high amount for a permit, which covers all the costs of the stay, including accommodation, food, and a guide.

The state offers many activities to tourists such as Himalayan treks, visits to monasteries, festivals, and tasting local cuisine.

 

Waterparks in Bhutan:

 

Form of government: constitutional monarchy

The supreme leader of Bhutan is the king, who has a prominent role in the country.

However, the king also has duties and powers set by the constitution, which is binding on rules and values such as sustainability, environmental protection, and cultural preservation.

In the political system, the National Assembly also has considerable influence. It is bicameral and consists of two chambers – the Lower Chamber (National Assembly) and the Upper Chamber (National Council). The members of the Lower Chamber are elected in general elections and have a vital role in the creation and approval of laws. The Upper Chamber, on the other hand, includes representatives of the various regions and has a consultative function.

 

Capital: Thimphu

Thimphu is located in the western part of Bhutan, in a valley on the banks of the Wang Chhu River, surrounded by the Himalayas.

Thimphu is also the cultural center of the country. Several important Buddhist monasteries are located here, such as Tashichho Dzong, which serves as the royal palace and seat of government.

 

Area: 38 394 km2 (14 824 square miles)

 

Population: 780 000 (2022)

The majority of the population is made up of the Bhutanese ethnic group. However, there are also smaller ethnic minorities, such as the Nepalese, who are often called “Lhotshampa” by the Bhutanese.

Buddhism is the main religion and plays a prominent role in the lives of the inhabitants. Most Bhutanese practice Tibetan-style Buddhism, specifically the Gelugpa tradition. Besides Buddhism, there are also smaller communities of Hindus and several other religious groups.

The official language is Bhutanese, also known as Dzongkha. In addition to Dzongkha, many other languages are spoken in the country, including various dialects of Bhutanese, Nepali, and Tibetan. The country places great emphasis on education. Basic education is compulsory and free. Literacy is at a high level, which is important for the country’s development and modernization. Health care has improved, leading to an increase in the life expectancy of the population. The Bhutanese have access to state healthcare and modern medical facilities.

Traditional culture plays an important role in both religious and social life. Residents often adhere to a traditional way of life, including wearing traditional clothing such as the gho for men and the kira for women.

 

UNESCO World Heritage Sites:

 

National parks: 5

 

  1. Jigme Dorji National Park
  2. Jigme Singye National Park
  3. Royal Manas National Park
  4. Phrumshingla National Park
  5. Wangchuck National Park