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Bhutanese Culture

About Bhutan


The Kingdom of Bhutan lies in the eastern Himalayas, between Tibet to the north and the Indian territories of Assam and west Bengal to the south. The Kingdom has a total area of about 47,0000 square kilometers. The country's history stretches back to the origins of Buddhism and its spiritually rich people are innovative, practical and charmingly humorous. They live in harmony with nature and have evolved a unique identity' resulting largely from a religious and cultural heritage. Bhutanese people today still wear their traditional outfit- Gho for males and Kira for females. The age-old code of etiquette formulated in the early 16th century still governs the way of life in Bhutan. Bhutan is popularly known as the only progressive Kingdom in the world that firmly preserves its unique rich culture, tradition, environment, and spiritual values in spite of the daunting developmental acts around the world. .

Bhutan Map




More than 90 percent of the people live on subsistence farming, scattered in sparsely populated villages across the rugged terrain of the Himalayas. With rice as the staple diet in the lower regions, and wheat, buckwheat, and maize in the other valleys, the people farm narrow terraces cut into steps on hill slopes. The Bhutanese are by nature physically strong and fiercely independent with an open and ready sense of humor. Hospitality is an inbuilt social value in Bhutan. Bhutan has three main ethnic groups known as Sharchops, Ngalong and the Lhotsampas. Sharchops are the earliest residents of Bhutan who generally reside in the eastern region.

The national sport of Bhutan is archery. Energetic competitions, usually accompanied by a banquet, are a part of all festive occasions. The archery targets are wooden slabs of about 30 centimeters in width and are aimed at from a range of 120 meters. Contests take place throughout the year. Other traditional sports include Dergo, in which around flat stone is thrown at a target, khuru (dart), keshey (wrestling), Pung - do (shortput). In soksum, a spear held at either end, is thrown at a target, whereas in sherey, parey, a contest of the strength, one man grasps the wrist of his opponent, who must free himself in order to win. Today, most international sports such as soccer, basketball, volleyball, tennis, table tennis, badminton and golf are also gaining currency in Bhutan. The Bhutan Olympic committee proudly represents the Kingdom at Olympic meetings. Monsoon influences promote dense forestation in the region and alpine growth at higher altitudes. The cultivated central uplands and Himalayan foothills support the majority of the population. In the south, the Daurs plain drops sharply away from the Himalayas into large tracts of semi- tropical forest savannah grassland and bamboo jungle.

You can also notice the dense forest of the kingdom which covers 72.5% which is internationally recognized for its pristine environment and rich biodiversity (One of the highest in the world ) when the flight crosses over the international border into Bhutan. The foundations of contemporary Bhutanese culture lie with several closely interrelated traditional legacies: ethnicity, Buddhism, hierarchy, community and self-sufficiency. There are three main ethnic groups - the Sharchops of Indo-Mongoloid origin, the Ngalops of Tibetan origin and the Lhotsams of Nepali origin - and there remain a few distanced tribal communities. The Ngalops are the dominant group within the country, over the centuries. The earlier settled Sharchops were converted to Buddhism and subsequently integrated within a centralized Ngalop dominated nation. The Lhotsams' arrival is much more recent - over the course of the Twentieth Century - and, due to Hindu religious belief, the relative strength of an existing culture and their concentration in the south of the country, many have not become wholly assimilated within the prevailing Ngalop dominated national culture. Although the national language is Dzongkha and historically spoken only in the west of the country - Nepali (and to a lesser extent Sharchop) remain widely spoken.


Contact Information

Post Box No. 445, Thimphu, Bhutan
Mobile No: +975-17128816/17166464
Fax: +975-2-337627
E-mail: tsheringmatours@yahoo.com

Travel Information