Bhutan - Land of the Thunder Dragon
Bhutan is a magical kingdom nestling in the shadow of the snow-topped Himalayas, steeped in rich culture and myth..Mystery surrounds Bhutans distant past as priceless historical documents were lost in fires and earthquakes. Bhutan is a little kingdom nestling between Nepal, and the state of Sikkim in India on one side and Bangla Desh on another side. This country was not easily accessible for a long time.
It is believed that the name Bhutan is derived from the sanskrit word ' Bhotant ' which means ' the end of Tibet ' or High Land, Historically Bhutanese have referred to their country as Druk Yul - The Land of The Thunder Dragon.
This legendary land was first settled in the 9th century by wandering migrants from the Tibet region of China.This small, landlocked country, lieing in the Eastern Himalayas , literally surrounded by mountains, is most difficult to navigate as there are few roads and no air connectivity or trains.Long influenced by the culture of India it gained its independence from India in 1949. Today its major trading partner is India.
Some Interesting facts about Bhutan
Bhutan is a small country covering a little over 18,000 sq miles (47,000 sq km), its land is very varied. Snow peaks in the Himalayas, swamps and highlands are just some of the land conditions that are found in a short range from each other. The three main areas in Bhutan are the Great Himalayan Region, Middle Himalayan Region and the Duars.
The Duars or the plains are only 5-8 miles wide (8-13 km), and are located along the Indian border and have a tropical climate. The northern section of the Duars is home to wildlife such as tigers , deer,wild boars and the like.
Bhutan has four major ethic groups namely Bhutia, Sharchops, Nepali, and other indigenous groups. The Bhutia, who are descended from Tibetans, live in the central and northern regions of Bhutan.
This ethnic group basically dominates politics in Bhutan particularly with it's contribution of government officials and monks that come from it.
Believed to be Bhutan's earliest settlers, the Sharchops live in the southeastern and eastern region. They speak both Tibeto-Burman languages as well as Hindi.
Buddhism was introduced here in the 7th century. After this time, the chronicles kept by Buddhists record Bhutan's history. Buddhism was brought in to Bhutan when the country was ruled by feudal lords in their separate valleys.The majority nearly 75 % of the residents are Buddhists and Hinduism is the next popular Religion in Bhutan.
The country was rated to be one of the least developed nations in the world by the United Nations. Most Bhutanese are employed in agriculture or related fields and most of the agriculture in Bhutan is cultivated simply to meet the needs of the people and the country. Unfortunately, Bhutan's culture and traditions are stricyly kept in tact, and so are their farming practices which consists of hard, physical labor with poor or little yield.
Bhutan is an incredibly beautiful nation surrounded by mountain ranges, water falls ,rivers, forests and green vegetation is an ideal tourist spot.
Thimphu is the bustling capital og Bhutan. Thimphu is situated at an altitude of 7000 feet, on the banks of the Wong Chu river. The city and the country attracts a lot of International tourists who are attracted by the wild mountainous land , swiftly flowing rivers,water falls and streams all of which promises ample opportunities for adventure sports and activities.
Bhutan's national carrier, Druk Air, was founded in 1983. It links Bhutan to India , Bangladesh, Nepal, and Thailand.
Bhutan is an attractive place for tourists and there are lots of things to do..The Thimpu valley, Paro valley, Tongsa,Wangdiphodrang,Bumthang Valley are some of the major attractions ..Taktshang is the most famous of monasteries in Bhutan. It hangs on a cliff at 3,120 metres (10,200 feet), some 700 meters (2,300 feet) above the bottom of Paro valley. A place of pilgrimage for Buddhists.
The country has a rich variety of floral species that include Rhododendrons, junipers, magnolias, some amazing carnivorous plants, rare wild orchids, blue poppies which live only in an altitude of 5000 meters and above and which is also the national flower, edelweiss, gentian, several herbal medicinal plants, daphne, giant rhubarb, high-altitude plants, tropical trees, pine and oak.Some of the rare and exotic faunas found in Bhutan are golden langur, Red pandas, Black-necked crane, Snow Leopard, Takin, Musk deer, Himalayan brown bear, mountain goats and timid blue sheep...
There is no limit to the tourist attractions in Bhutan and one will gets the chance to visit the most amazing of the natural and man made attractions while touring Bhutan .The busiest months of the year when maximum tourists visit Bhutan are during March, April and May in spring and September, October and November in autumn.
During this period most of the colorful festivals occur which are attended by tourists and the weather is milder. In spring, although the weather consists of rain and clouds, a lot of wildlife and flowers are at their most vivid.. Winter is cold and severe but with clear skies the mountain views are magnificent and at their stunning best..