Country - Bhutan
Bhutan Country Information
Bhutan, the Land of the Thunder Dragon, is the first country in the world to ban smoking and usage of tobacco products for personal quasi-euphoric purposes. Bhutan is a small secluded country lying to the east of Himalaya mountains in the Asian continent. The country is surrounded by three Indian states; Arunachal Pradesh lies to the east, most of the Bhutanese southern border is shared by Assam and part of the southern and the southwestern border is common with West Bengal and to the western border of Bhutan is shared by Sikkim. The northern border is shared by Tibet.
Bhutan is a landlocked country and has neither a harbour nor a seashore. However, the country is blessed with as many as twenty rivers and rivulets to quench the thirst of its people and for agricultural purposes. Various water bodies and creeks at different places serve as tourist attractions. Himalayan river valleys are the backbone of the country to generate hydroelectric power of about 5500 Mega Watts annually as per the estimate of 2015. Hydroelectric power is a prime component in Bhutan’s exports.
Thimpu is the capital and the largest city of Bhutan. The official language is Bhutanese, also referred to as Dzongkha. The major religion is Buddhism practised by 74.7% of the population and Hindus contribute to 22.6% and the remaining people are Christians, Muslims and others. The culture of Bhutan is mainly influenced by religion. The government in Bhutan is of Unitary Parliamentary Constitutional Monarchy and the parliament is of bicameral legislature wherein the upper house is called National Council and the lower house is known as National Assembly. Bhutan took the membership of United Nations in 1971.
Bhutan is a paradise for international tourists with a penchant for adventurous sports. Trekking, water-rafting, kayaking, rock-climbing will keep the enthusiastic visitors engaged fully well. The vast greenery of the landscapes fostered by the cool Himalayan climate is an unlimited pleasure to watch and wander around. The monastery built, called the Tiger’s Nest, on cliff side in Paro at an altitude of 10,000 feet above the sea level seems as an abode of tranquility in the true sense of the term. In addition to the worth seeing numerous monasteries, the country is rich with as many as 300 bird species, most of whom are rare to find in other parts of the world.
The snow-enveloped mountains are the right places for skiing down the declivities providing amusement to the ebullient adventurers. However, some of the activities require certain amount of physical fitness. Even for the non-adventurous tourists, the country offers solace to the aesthetic eye with humungous hills swathed with fresh green turkish blankets and brown tile roofed tenements far flung in the lap of nature. An aerial view or approach to the country takes onlookers by surprise as the green hilly terrains are studded with small cultivated pieces of land and solitary tile-roofed bungalows and monasteries. A distant aerial view from a helicopter or an aircraft makes some of the edifices look like bird nests or pigeon holes built in the rock niches of giant mountains with highly uneven terrains. It is a common sight that constructions with canopied roofs put up a single appearance on stony altars.
The erstwhile king Jigme Singye Wangchuk held high the concept of Gross National Happiness in 1972, rather than comparing with other countries based on economic statistical figures. The idea was to uphold that the ultimate purpose of governance was the general well-being and comfortable life for people at large as against the highly priced natural resources which would help in striking lucrative trade bargains with the rest of the world. The group folk dances are quite colourful and unique to the national tradition, reflecting the jubilant spirit of the nation.
The vivid colourful costumes, cone shaped turquoise crowns embellished with peacock plumes and wheel-cart bases that fit properly on the dancers’ bonces, circular motions of dances mark the specific style of the celebrations at Tsechu festival. The cham dance is the mind-captivating cynosure of Paro Tshechu.
The world famous YETI (or “migoi” in demotic parlance) which is described as an abominable snowman or an eerie ursine creature is proudly claimed by the locals as native to their country and one of the most primitive forms of hominid primates, unmindful of whether the listeners are inclined to believe or not. They even go to the extent of advising visitors the precautions to be taken for self-defence when encountered by such mysterious living beings.
Bhutan maintains good diplomatic relations with India, Nepal, Tibet, Japan and Bangladesh. It is one of the founding members of SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) established in 1985. The country is also a member of Group 77, World Bank and International Monetary Fund inter alia other international organizations. The capital of India New Delhi serves as the centre of Bhutanese embassy for informal diplomatic communication. Another embassy of Bhutan is located in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. Bhutan has earned the reputation of not interfering with the internal affairs of neighbouring countries and it has become one of the most affable nations of the world.