Bhutan, is traditionally called eDruk Yulf. It is a
land-locked country with no access to sea. It is located
in the eastern Himalayas bordered by India in the south,
east and west and by the Tibetan Autonomous Region of
China in the north. It has an area of 46,500 Sq. Km.
between latitudes 26 45 0 North and 28 10 0 North and
between longitudes 88 45 0 east and 92 10 0 east. At its
longest east-west dimension, Bhutan stretches around 300
kilometers and it measures 170 kilometer at its maximum
north-south dimension. Bhutan shares about 1075 km of
land boundaries with its neighbours - China 470 km,
India 605 km. It is roughly the size of Switzerland.
Facts and Figures
Land area: 38,394 square kilometers
Forest area: 72.5 %
Altitude: Between 240metres and 7541metres above
Language: Official language gDzongkhah, English
Religion: Vajrayana stream of Mahayana Buddhism
(Also known as Tantric Buddhism)
Currency: Ngultrum (equal to Indian Rupee)
National Tree: Cypress
National Bird: Raven
National Flower: Blue Poppy
National Sport: Archery
National Animal: Takin
Local time: Six hours ahead of GMT and half an
hour ahead of Indian Standard Time
Brief History of Bhutan
The origin of Bhutan and its earlier history is unknown.
Guru Padma Sambhava, an Indian saint made his legendary
trip from Tibet to Bhutan at the end of eighth century.
Bhutanfs history is shrouded in mystery, prior to the
arrival of yet another Tibetan Lama (monk), Zhabdrung
Nawang Namgyal from Ralung Monastery of Tibet in 1616.
After being threatened in Tibet, he escaped to Bhutan,
Before Zhabdrung Nawang Namgyales arrival, numerous
clans ruled in different valleys of Bhutan, having
internecine war and quarrel among themselves and with
Tibet. The arrival of Zhabdrung Nawang Namgyal is
considered as the most important era in the history of
Bhutan. Zhabdrung literally means, "at whose feet one
submits". Over the next thirty years, he conquered and
unified the country under his central leadership, which
otherwise was fragmented into petty principalities,
ruled over by the tribal feudal chiefs.
Zhabdrung established himself as the country's supreme
leader. He ruled over Bhutan for thirty-five years until
his retirement in 1651 A.D. During his reign of 35
years, he built dzongs (fortress), monasteries, and
religious institutions. He established the Drukpa
Kargyupa school of Tantric Mahayana Buddhism in Bhutan.
His reign was marked by the introduction of the unique
dual system of governance called the Chhoesid. This new
system was characterized by the sharing of power and
authority between the Deb Raja or the Desi who was the
head of secular affairs and the Dharma Raja or the
spiritual head, called as Je Khempo . He also codified
laws for the country. The laws were based on medieval
theocratic principles called the Tsa-Yig. The successive
eDharma Rajasf were the incarnations of the Shabdrung
whereas the post of the Deb Raja was like that of the
Prime Minister. In course of time, the Dharma Rajas
preferring religious matters withdrew themselves into
seclusion while the Deb Rajas consolidated their
authority exercising sole responsibility over the
secular affairs. The seventh and eighth Zhabdrung
reincarnates ( avtars) died in 1931 and 1953.
The dual form of governance continued until the birth of
the Wangchuk dynasty and establishment of hereditary
Monarchy in 1907. Ugyen Wangchuck was elected as the
first hereditary monarch of Bhutan on December 17, 1907.
The present King Jigme Singye Wangchuck is the fourth