Bhutan

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The Kingdom of Bhutan
Druk Ghal Khab འབྲུག་རྒྱལ་ཁབ་
Kingdom of the Thunder Dragon
Flag
Flag Coat of Arms
Royal Capital Punakha
Coordinates latitude: 27° 40' 0" N
longitude: 89° 55' 0" E
Administrative Capital Thimpu
Coordinates latitude: 27° 25' 31" N
longitude: 89° 40' 13" E
Government unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy
Legislature Parliament Gyelyang Tshogdu
Head of State His Royal Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuk (2006)
Head of Government Jigme Y. Thinley
Demonym Bhutanese
Formation
Foundation 1616
House of Wangchuk 1907
League of Nations 1968
Himalayan Confederacy 1975
Himalayan Postal Union 1978
Constitution 2008
Area 95,533 km²
36,885 mi²
Population 951,630
Ethnicities Bhotia
Monpa
numerous indigenous tribes
Languages
Official Dzongkha
Tshangla
Other Nepali
19 minority Tibeto-Burman languages
Religions
Official Drukpa Buddhism 75%
Other Shaivism 23%
Animism 3%
Currency 1 Himalayan Rupee (Rs) = 20 annas (a) = 240 paise (p)
ISO Code DRK
Time zone UTC +5:00
Telephone Code 441
Registration
Aviation DRK
Amateur radio DRK
Radio prefix DRK
Organizations League of Nations
Himalayan Confederacy
Sports
Official archery
Other

Contents

History

Bhutan, History of

The Wangchuk Rajas of Bhutan

Name Succeeds Reign Died Notes
1) Ugyen 1907-1926 1926
2) Jigme father 1926-1952 1952
3) Jigme Dorji father 1952-1972 1972 began modernization
4) Jigme Singye father 1972-2006 abdicated
5) Jigme Khesar father 2006- son of third wife

Styles

  • The King of Bhutan, the Gyalpo, has the style of His Majesty.
  • The wives of the king, the Gyalmo, have the style of Her Majesty.
  • The mother of the king, the Gyalyum, has the style of Her Majesty.
  • A son of the king, the Gyalsay Dasho, has the style of His Royal Highness.
  • A daughter of the king, the Ashi, has the style of Her Royal Highness.
  • Other male members of the Royal family have the style of Dasho, Lord.
  • Other female members of the Royal family have the style Ashi, Lady.


Toponymy

  • Variations of the Sanskrit words Bhota-ant (end of Bhot, an Indian name for Tibet) or Bhu-uttan (highlands) have been suggested by historians as origins of the name Bhutan, which came into common foreign use in the late nineteenth century and is used in Bhutan only in English-language official correspondence.
  • The traditional name of the country since the seventeenth century has been Drukyul, country of the Drukpa, the Dragon people, or the Land of the Thunder Dragon, a reference to the country's dominant Buddhist sect.


Government

Constitution

Provinces

Province
dzongdey
Capital Area Population Prefecture
dzongkhag
Notes
Thimpu (T) Thimpu 8,345 km² 279,000 Thimpu (Thimpu) (TT)
Paro (Paro) (TP)
Haa (Ha) (TH)
Samtse (Samtse) (TS)
Chhukha (Chhukha) (TC)
Made capital in 1961.
Wangdi Phodrang (W) Wangdi 11,023 km² 38,000 Wangdi (Wangdi) (WW)
Dagana (Daga) (WD)
Tsirang (Damphu) (WT)
Gasa (Gasa) (WG)
Punakha (Punakha) (WP)
Tongsa (G) Tongsa 8,499 km² 88,000 Tongsa (Tongsa) (GT)
Bumthang (Jakar) (GB)
Sarpang (Geylegphug) (GS)
Zhemgang (Zhemgang) (GZ)
Mongar (M) Mongar 10,949 km² 66,800 Lhuentse (Lhuntshi) (ML)
Trashiyangtse (Tashi Yangtse) (MY)
Mongar (Mongar) (MM)
Trashigang (Tashhigang) (MT)
Pemagalskel (Pemagalskel) (MP)
Sandrup Jongkhur (Sandrup Jongkhur) (MS)
Kameng (K) Bombila 13,728 km² 169,000 E. Kameng (Seppa) (KE)
W. Kameng (Bombila) (KW)
Tawang (Tawang) (KT)
Pemako (P) Along 18,518 km² 130,300 W. Siang (Along) (PW)
E. Siang (Pasiqhat) (PE)
Upper Siang (Yingkionk) (PU)
Subansiri (S) Daporijo 7,980 km² 153,000 Upper Subansiri (Daparijo) (SU)
Lower Subansiri (Ziro) (SL)
Papum Pare (R) Itanagar 3,462 km² 122,000 Papum Pare (Yupia) (RP)
Dibang (D) Anini 13,029 km² 57,000 Lower Dibang (Anini) (DL)
Upper Dibang (Roing) (DU)

Thus, the total area of the rajadom is 95,533 km², slightly larger than *here's* Hungary or the American state of Indiana.

Borders


Physical description

Geography

  • Bhutan lies in the Eastern Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows, an area of 121,300 square kilometres (46,800 sq mi), extending along the north and south faces of the Himalaya Range from the Kali Gandaki Gorge in Lo eastwards through Tibet, Sikkim, Bhutan, and on into Bangal, and northernmost Myanmar.
  • The alpine shrub and meadows lie between approximately 4,000 and 5,500 metres (13,000 and 18,000 ft) elevation. Permanent ice and snow lie above 5,500 metres (18,000 ft). The Eastern Himalayan subalpine conifer forests lie below 3,000 metres (9,800 ft) along the southern slopes of the range, from Lo to Bhutan.

Climate

Economy

  • Bhutan's economy is based on agriculture, forestry, tourism and the sale of hydroelectric power to Burma and Bangal.
  • Agriculture provides the main livelihood for 55.4 percent of the population. Agrarian practices consist largely of subsistence farming and animal husbandry.
  • Handicrafts, particularly weaving and the manufacture of religious art for home altars, are a small cottage industry.
  • A landscape that varies from hilly to ruggedly mountainous has made the building of roads and other infrastructure difficult and expensive.
  • The industrial sector is in a nascent stage, and though most production comes from cottage industry, larger industries are being encouraged.
  • Industries include the production of ferroalloy, cement, metal poles, iron and nonalloy steel products, processed graphite, copper conductors, alcoholic and carbonated beverages, processed fruits, carpets, wood products and furniture.
  • Bhutan has deposits of numerous minerals including coal, dolomite, gypsum, and limestone. The country has proven reserves of beryl, copper, graphite, lead, mica, pyrite, tin, tungsten and zinc.
  • Agricultural produce includes rice, chilies, dairy (some yak, mostly cow) products, buckwheat, barley, root crops, apples, and citrus and maize at lower elevations.
  • Bhutanese red rice is the country's most widely known agricultural export. Bangal is the largest market for Bhutanese apples and oranges.
  • Bhutan's largest export is electricity which it provides to Awadh, Bangal and Burma.
  • Other exports are cardamom, gypsum, timber, handicrafts, cement, fruit, precious stones and spices.
  • Imports include fuel and lubricants, grain, machinery, vehicles, fabrics and rice.
  • Bhutan's main export partners are the other members of the Himalayan Confederacy, Awadh, Bangal, Burma and Tibet.
  • A significant food source in Bhutan is fishing for trout from cold-water streams.
  • Fisheries were developed to provide carp imported from Assam. In 1977 the Department of Animal Husbandry established a Fishery Development Programme, initially for stocking rivers with game fish and for developing commercial capability as a long-term goal.
  • Tourism is becoming a major source of income for the kingdom, currently employing 21,000 people. Sites of interest include temples and national parks. Bhutan is also known for trekking and hiking in the mountains.


Culture

Religion

There is freedom of religion in the Kingdom of Bhutan, although proselytism by Western religions is not encouraged.

Buddhism

Organization
  • Mahayana Buddhism is the state religion of Bhutan, and Buddhists comprise 75% of the population. The majority of Bhutan's Buddhists are adherents of the Drukpa subsect of the Kargyu school, one of the five major schools of Tibetan Buddhism. Although originating in Tibetan Buddhism, the Buddhism practiced in Bhutan differs significantly in its rituals, liturgy, and monastic organization. The state religion is supported financially by the government through annual subsidies to monasteries, shrines, monks, and nuns. There is a representative on the Royal Advisory Council (Lodyo Tshogdu).
  • There are about 1,000 monks (lam) who belong to the Central Monastic Body in Thimphu and Punakha. Another 4,000 belong to provincial monastic bodies. The monastic community is headed by the chief abbot, the je khenpo, who is assisted by five lopons or masters, each in charge of one aspect of the religion: tradition, liturgy, lexicography, logic and training. The lonpon have under them religious administrators and junior monastic officials in charge of art, music, and other areas. Drukpa monks need not be celibate for they also include householders, which allows them to marry, raise families, and work in secular occupations while performing liturgical functions in temples and homes. There are also 18 active congregations of nuns, with about 2,500 nuns. The nuns must remain celibate.
Monasteries
  • Monasteries and convents are common in Bhutan. Both monks and nuns keep their heads shaved and wear distinguishing maroon robes. Their days are spent in study and meditation but also in the performance of rituals honoring various bodhisattvas, praying for the dead, and seeking the intercession of bodhisattvas on behalf of the ill. Some of their prayers involve chants and singing accompanied by conch shell trumpets, trumpets made from human thighbones, metal horns up to three meters long, large standing drums and cymbals, hand bells, temple bells, gongs, and wooden sticks. Some of the monks are noted for their skill at throat-singing, a specialized form of chanting in which, by amplifying the voice's upper partials, the chanter can produce multiple distinct pitches simultaneously. Such monastic music and singing, not normally heard by the general public, has been reported to have "great virility" and to be more melodious than its Tibetan monotone counterparts. Common people do practice the religion in their own ways: day to day works, in their speech, in their thought and visiting the holy places and persons on holy dates. The holy dates are the 8th, 10th, 15th, 25th, 28th, and 30th day in a month in the Bhutanese calendar).
Buildings and objects
  • To bring Buddhism to the people, numerous symbols and structures are employed. Religious monuments, prayer walls, prayer flags, and sacred mantras carved in stone hillsides are prevalent. Among the religious monuments are chorten, the Bhutanese version of the Indian stupa. They range from simple rectangular "house" chorten to complex edifices with ornate steps, doors, domes, and spires. Some are decorated with the Buddha's eyes that see in all directions simultaneously. These earth, brick, or stone structures commemorate deceased kings, Buddhist saints, venerable monks, and other notables, and sometimes they serve as reliquaries. Prayer walls are made of laid or piled stone and inscribed with Tantric prayers. Prayers printed with woodblocks on cloth are made into tall, narrow, colorful prayer flags, which are then mounted on long poles and placed both at holy sites and at dangerous locations to ward off demons and to benefit the spirits of the dead. To help propagate the faith, itinerant monks travel from village to village carrying portable shrines with many small doors, which open to reveal statues and images of the Buddha, bodhisattavas, and notable lamas.

Bön

  • Before the introduction of Buddhism, the Bön religion was prevalent in Bhutan as it was in Tibet. Imported from Tibet and India, perhaps in the eighth century, Bön doctrine became so strongly reinvigorated by Buddhism that by the eleventh century it reasserted itself as an independent school apart from Buddhism, now practiced mainly in the Kingdom of Lo. Bön is no longer practiced in modern Bhutan.

Hinduism

  • About 23 percent of the population are Hindus, mainly Shaivites. These people live mostly in the Terai. There is a Hindu temple in Thimphu.

Animism

  • The remaining two percent of Bhutanese practice one of the animistic religions of the indigenous peoples. Most of these live in the eastern part of the kingdom.

National symbols

  • National mammal: water buffalo (Bubalus bubalis)
  • National bird: raven (Corvus corax)
  • National reptile: Brook's house gecko (Hemidactylus brookii)
  • National fish: Himalayan trout (Barilius bendelisis)
  • National flower: blue poppy (Meconopsis grandis)
  • National tree: Himalayan cypress (Cupressus torulosa) (tseden)
  • National cuisine: zow shungo
  • National flag:
    • The flag is square divided diagonally with yellow in the upper hoist over maroon in the lower fly. The dragon is colored turquoise in reference to the traditional yu druk ngonm (གཡུ་ རབྲུག་ སྡོནམ), the turquoise dragon.
    • The two colors of the flag symbolize the spiritual and temporal power within Bhutan, the yellow, the secular authority of the Wangchuk dynasty, and the maroon, the Drukpa tradition.
    • The turquoise dragon symbolizes Druk, the Tibetan name for the kingdom. The jewels clamped in the dragon's claws symbolize wealth. The snarling mouth symbolizes the strength of the male and female deities protecting the country.
  • The National Coat of Arms
    • Per bend sinister Yellow and Maroon, a druk bendwise sinister.
    • For a crest, the raven crown.
    • For supporters, issuant from a lotus Argent on either side, which issue from a grassy compartment semy of blue poppies, water buffaloes Proper rampant guardant, each charged on the shoulder with a wish-fulfilling jewel proper and holding in their forward hooves a vajra.
    • All in front of a Himalayan cypress proper.
  • National anthem:
Druk tsendhen
Druk tsendhen koipi gyelkhap na
Loog ye ki tenpa chongwai gyon
Pel mewang ngadhak rinpo chhe
Ku jurmey tenching chhap tsid pel
Chho sangye ten pa goong dho gyel
Bang che kyed nyima shar warr sho.
In the Thunder Dragon Kingdom
In the Thunder Dragon Kingdom, where cypresses grow,
Refuge of the glorious monastic and civil traditions,
The King of Druk, precious sovereign,
His being is eternal, his reign prosperous.
The enlightenment teachings thrive and flourish.
May the people shine like the sun of peace and happiness.
  • National dress:
    • for men: gho with kabney for formal occasions
    • for women: kira with tego and rachu
  • National sport: archery
  • National dance: chham (sacred mask dances)
  • National instrument: dramyin
  • National colors: yellow and maroon

Bhutanese public holidays

Date Name Notes
2 January Nyinlog Winter solstice
21 January Buelwa phuemi nyim Day of Offering
19 February 2015 Losar New Year
21 February The King's Birthday Father's Day - His Majesty was born in 1980
5 March 2015 Chotrul Düchen Butter Lamp Festival
25 May 2015 Suga Dawa Düchen The Buddha's Birth, Enlightenment, and Parinirvana
2 June Constitution Day Date present constitution was passed in 1990
4 June The Queen's Birthday Mother's Day (in 2012 transferred to 5 May) - Her Majesty was born in 1990
10 July 2015 Guru Rinpoche's Birthday Padmasambhava transmits Vajrayana Buddhism to Bhutan founding the Nyingma School
28 August 2015 Ullambana Ancestor Day
23 September 2015 Thri-bab Blessed Rainy Day
13 October 2015 Dashain Victory of the Goddess Durga
1 November The King's Coronation His Majesty was crowned in 2008
17 December Independence Day King Ugyen's coronation in 1904


Demography

Infrastructure

Air Travel

Bhutan roundel.PNG
  • Drukair, the Royal Bhutan Airlines, is the flag carrier of the Kingdom of Bhutan.
  • There are aerodromes in Punakha, Thimpu and Darjeeling.
  • There are international flights to Faizabad, Awadh; Lhasa, Tibet; Delhi, Bharaþij Samraj; and Kolkata, Bangal.
  • Airplanes are owned by private citizens and the military.
  • Helicopters are used for medical evacuation and mountain rescue.

Road Travel

  • Driving is on the left side of the road.
  • About 85 percent of the kingdom's roads are paved with either asphalt or cement.
  • There is only one four-lane limited access highway. It connects Punakha, Thimpu and Darjeeling.

Rail Travel

  • There is only one rail line, the Transconfederacy Railroad, which links Darjeeling westward to Kathmandu, Nepal, and eastward to Anini.
  • There is a northern extension to Thimpu and Punakha.

Public Welfare

Education

  • Bhutan has one decentralised university with eleven constituent colleges spread across the kingdom, the Royal University of Bhutan.
  • Students may also attend colleges and universities in the other nations of the Himalayan Confederacy.
  • Education is compulsory through grade twelve.


Flora and fauna

Flora

  • More than 5,400 species of plants are found in Bhutan. Fungi form a key part of Bhutanese ecosystems, with mycorrhizal species providing forest trees with mineral nutrients necessary for growth, and with wood decay- and litter-decomposing species playing an important role in natural recycling.

Fauna

  • Bhutan has a rich primate life, with rare species such as the golden langur. A variant Assamese macaque has also been recorded, which is regarded by some authorities as a new species, Macaca munzala.
  • The Bengal tiger, clouded leopard, hispid hare and the sloth bear live in the lush tropical lowland and hardwood forests in the south.
  • In the temperate zone, grey langur, tiger, goral and serow are found in mixed conifer, broadleaf and pine forests.
  • Fruit-bearing trees and bamboo provide habitat for the Himalayan black bear, red panda, squirrel, sambar, wild pig and barking deer.
  • The alpine habitats of the great Himalayan range in the north are home to the snow leopard, blue sheep, marmot, Tibetan wolf, antelope, Himalayan musk deer and the takin, Bhutan's national animal.
  • The endangered wild water buffalo occurs in southern Bhutan, although in small numbers.
  • More than 770 species of bird have been recorded in Bhutan. The globally endangered white-winged duck has been added recently to Bhutan's bird list.[48]
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