The King of Bhutan is known as the "Dragon King". Bhutan is also notable for pioneering the concept of gross national happiness. The country's landscape ranges from lush subtropical plains in the south to the sub-alpine Himalayan mountains in the north, where there are peaks in excess of 7,000 metres (23,000 ft). The highest mountain in Bhutan is the Gangkhar Puensum, which is also a strong candidate for the highest unclimbed mountain in the world. There is also diverse wildlife in Bhutan.
In South Asia, Bhutan ranks first in economic freedom, ease of doing business, and peace; second in per capita income; and is the least corrupt country as of 2016. However, Bhutan continues to be a least developed country. Hydroelectricity accounts for the major share of its exports. The government is a parliamentary democracy. Bhutan maintains diplomatic relations with 52 countries and the European Union, but does not have formal ties with the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. It is a member of the United Nations, SAARC, BIMSTEC and the Non Aligned Movement. The Royal Bhutan Army maintains extensive military relations with the Indian Armed Forces.
Bhutan Tourist Place
- Bhutan HISTORY
Stone tools, weapons, elephants, and remnants of large stone structures provide evidence that Bhutan was inhabited as early as 2000 BC, although there are no existing records from that time. Historians have theorized that the state of Lhomon (literally, "southern darkness"), or Monyul ("Dark Land", a reference to the Monpa, the aboriginal peoples of Bhutan) may have existed between 500 BC and AD 600. The names Lhomon Tsendenjong (Sandalwood Country), and Lhomon Khashi, or Southern Mon (country of four approaches), have been found in ancient Bhutanese and Tibetan chronicles.
The Dzong in the Paro valley, built in 1646. Buddhism was first introduced to Bhutan in the 7th century AD. Tibetan king Songtsän Gampo (reigned 627–649), a convert to Buddhism, who actually had extended the Tibetan Empire into Sikkim and Bhutan, ordered the construction of two Buddhist temples, at Bumthang in central Bhutan and at Kyichu (near Paro) in the Paro Valley. Buddhism was propagated in earnest in 746 under King Sindhu Rāja, an exiled Indian king who had established a government in Bumthang at Chakhar Gutho Palace.
Bhutan is located on the southern slopes of the eastern Himalayas, landlocked between the Tibet Autonomous Region to the north and the Indian states of Sikkim, West Bengal, Assam, and Arunachal Pradesh to the west and south. It lies between latitudes 26°N and 29°N, and longitudes 88°E and 93°E. The land consists mostly of steep and high mountains crisscrossed by a network of swift rivers, which form deep valleys before draining into the Indian plains. Elevation rises from 200 m (660 ft) in the southern foothills to more than 7,000 m (23,000 ft). This great geographical diversity combined with equally diverse climate conditions contributes to Bhutan's outstanding range of biodiversity and ecosystems.
The climate in Bhutan varies with elevation, from subtropical in the south to temperate in the highlands and polar-type climate, with year-round snow in the north. Bhutan experiences five distinct seasons: summer, monsoon, autumn, winter and spring. Western Bhutan has the heavier monsoon rains; southern Bhutan has hot humid summers and cool winters; central and eastern Bhutan is temperate and drier than the west with warm summers and cool winters.
Bhutan has a rich and unique cultural heritage that has largely remained intact because of its isolation from the rest of the world until the mid-20th century. One of the main attractions for tourists is the country's culture and traditions. Bhutanese tradition is deeply steeped in its Buddhist heritage. Hinduism is the second most dominant religion in Bhutan, being most prevalent in the southern regions. The government is increasingly making efforts to preserve and sustain the current culture and traditions of the country. Because of its largely unspoiled natural environment and cultural heritage, Bhutan has been referred to as The Last Shangri-la.
While Bhutanese citizens are free to travel abroad, Bhutan is viewed as inaccessible by many foreigners. Another reason for it being an unpopular destination is the cost, which is high for tourists on tighter budgets. Entry is free for citizens of India, Bangladesh, and the Maldives, but all other foreigners are required to sign up with a Bhutanese tour operator and pay around US$250 per day that they stay in the country, though this fee covers most travel, lodging and meal expenses. Bhutan received 37,482 visitor arrivals in 2011, of which 25% were for meetings, incentives, conferencing, and exhibitions.
Air : Paro Airport is the only international airport in Bhutan. Yongphulla Airport in Trashigang is a small domestic airport that underwent upgrades through 2010. Yongphulla Airport was scheduled for completion in January 2010 but as of January 2015, the airport remains closed due to ongoing runway repair. National carrier Druk Air operates flights between Paro Airport and airports in Jakar (Bumthang Dzongkhag) and Gelephu (Sarpang Dzongkhag) on a weekly basis.
Railway : There is no railway system in Bhutan. Indian Railways plans to link southern Bhutan to its network under an agreement signed in January 2005 The nearest railway station from Phuentsholing is Hashimara in Jalpaiguri district of West Bengal in India.The nearest major railway station is at Siliguri namely New Jalpaiguri (NJP) in India. Bhutan cannot be accessed by train directly. Guwahati in Assam is also one of the Major railway stations and is easily assessable from Samdrup Jongkhar.
Bus : Indian buses ply up to Jaigaon, the bordering town of Bhutan border town Phuentsholing. Royal Bhutanese Government runs bus service from Kolkata in West Bengal to Phuentsholing in Bhutan.Buses depart from Kolkata's Esplanade bus station at 7.00 PM on Tuesday,Thursday and Saturday.Similarly they leave from Phuentsholing Bhutan Post office at 3.00 PM on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.The journey takes around 18 hours and costs Rs. 600.00 Rupees / Nu. The buses are comparatively comfortable. There is frequent service between Siliguri, Jalpaiguri and Phuentsholing.
Bhutan Places of Interest
Situated in the valley of eastern Himalaya, Paro is a small and beautiful country in Himalayas with two storeys houses good looking, rectangular in plan decorated. It is bordered by Haa Dzongkha to the west, Tibet to the north, Thimpu to the east, and Chukha Dzongkha to the south. It is full of legends, heroism, and natural splendor and is home to some of the Bhutan's oldest temples, monasteries and the only airport of Bhutan. Rinpung Dzong built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngwang Namgyal and Ta Dzong watch tower built to defend Rinpung Dzong during inter-valley wars of the 17th Century, now holds the National Museum is worth a visit. Taktshang, or Tiger's Nest, Kyichu Lhakhang the oldest temple, Drukgyel Dzong, at ruins since a fire in the 1950s. Rinpung Dzong where the movie Little Buddha was filmed are all beautiful sites to be visited around the town of Paro. One our tourist is of the view that Bhutan has about 700,000 citizens, 17,000 tourists per year, and two airplanes. It’s a tourist paradise and it has to be seen to believe. All the trek route and packages either initiate or pass through Paro.
It is the administrative centre of Punakha Dzongkha, it is about 72 kilometers and it is about 3 hours drive by car from Thimphu situated at an elevation of 1200 meters with mountains covered with vast pine woods, winding roads and the snow covered peaks of the Himalayas. Punakha is bordered by Thimphu, Gasa, and Wangdue Phodrang all are of tourist interest. It's a picturesque town and the weather is quite warm in winter and hot in summer. Rice is grown as the as the major crop along the valleys of two rivers Pho Chu and Mo Chu. The village named Ritsha is famous for rice cultivation and the plantation area also has papaya and orange plants growing in between. Punakha dzong is beautifully located along the river but is vulnerable to flash flooding caused by glacial lake outburst flood and it was flooded thrice in 1957, 1960 and 1994. Few noticeable object is the is that you come across with prayer flags - some small square flags strung together and other single flags on a pole by themselves. One can actually hear them flapping in the breeze, it is believed by the Buddhist that the prayers written on the flags will be dispersed on the wind. Other noticeable matter is everyone were national dress all the time and lastly the houses are all built as per Dzong style. Punakha is divided into nine gewogs or counties Chhubu Gewog, Dzomo Gewog, Goenshari Gewog, Guma Gewog, Kabjisa Gewog, Lingmukha Gewog, Shenga Bjime Gewog, Talo Gewog, and Toewang Gewog.
Samdrup Jongkhar is regional head of Samdrup Jongkhar district and the largest town in east Bhutan it is similar to Phuentsholing due to the similarity in architectural style. In fact both towns are on the border with India and are the only entry and exit point by road. This town is a very clean and pleasant place with an eclectic mixture of Bhutanese and Indian shops, restaurants and hotels, so it is worth a look around if visiting the area. Though this place does not have much places of tourist interest yet being an important transit point with the Visa office and entry point to Bhutan, it is always bit busy. Flight and roadways are the only option of travels in Bhutan and is always advisable for travelers to visit places nearby or in one circuit well planned in advance. Small Japanese Coaster buses makes comfortable journey from there.
It is perhaps the smallest capital in the world and is pure and ethnic gallery of traditional Bhutanese art, architecture, culture, and tradition, located across the western slopes of the Wang Chhu river valley. This is the center of Bhutan and the financial and tourism hub situated at an altitude of 2,320 meters, even a walk through Norzin Lam the main thoroughfare is worth. It is perhaps the only world capital without any traffic lights. The places to visit in Thimpu is the Memorial Chorten, dedicated to the late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, Tashichho Dzong, the summer residence of the central monk body, the traditional medicine hospital where herbal medicines are prepared. The National Library, a treasure trove of ancient texts and the institute of Zorig Chosum for thanka painting, sculpture, wood and slate carving, gold works and embroidery. Changangkha Lakhang which contains ancient scriptures and thanka paintings and Simtokha Dzong now house a school for Buddhist studies. The National Post Office, along Chang lam, is an institute in itself where famous Bhutanese stamps are displayed and stored. This is a paradise for Philatelist. The old and expensive stamps are exhibited at the National Museum in Paro.
Located in the centre of Bhutan is of great importance in the history of Bhutan. His Majesty King Ugyen Wangchuck, who was elected the country's first hereditary monarch, and his successor, King Jigme Wangchuck, ruled the country from Trongsa's ancient dzong. The present King continued this tradition when he was appointed Trongsa Penlop in 1972 shortly before he ascended the throne of Bhutan. Trongsa Dzong is an awe-inspiring and impregnable fortress. It has a labyrinth of temples, corridors and offices holding court over the local community. Trongsa is one of the quaintest and most charming of all Bhutanese towns. Its vista is traditional in appearance with wooden slatted houses lining the side of the hill.
Until the 17th century it was a separate kingdom, ruled from Jakar. One of the site Jakar is in the middle of the four valleys of Bumthang covered in spruce and fir with avifauna like Chestnut breasted Partridge, Ward's Trogon, the majestic Rufous necked Hornbill, Blue napped Pitta, Blue fronted Robin, wedge billed, Bar winged Wren Babblers, Yellow rumped Honey guide, Emerald Dove, Large Niltava, and Russet Bush Warbler. One can also spot the rare Golden Langur. Here the landscape is dotted with palaces, ancient temples and monasteries. The drive from Punakha to Bumathang over the Do Chula Pass and Pelela Pass. On the way visit to Chume Valley, where local women weave the famous Bumathang Yathra from pure woolen cloth woven in the traditional method with beautiful colored patterns is worth visiting. Bumthang countryside are brilliant and one can enjoy the drive or trek whichever one opt for offers an exceptional opportunity to be in contact with the rural life.
Wangdue Phodrang is a town and capital of Wangdue Phodrang District. Wangdue Phodrang is divided into 15 gewogs or counties and the name is derived from the Dzong built here in 1638Located in central Bhutan the district is bordered by Thimphu and Punakha Dzongkhag to the west, Dagana and Tsirang Dzongkhag to the south, Tongsa Dzongkhag to the east and Gasa Dzongkhag and a small section of border with Tibet to the north. Wangdue Phodrang Dzongkhag has three approach / exit route. The Lateral Road enters from the west at Dochu La Pass and continues east to Tongsa. Second road heads north to the dzong at Punakha and becomes the trail to Gasa. The third departs the Lateral Road near the Pele La pass traveling south to Gangteng monastery and the Phobjika valley where the rare Grus nigricollis or the black necked cranes can be spotted. Trongsa is one of the tourist hot spot in eastern Bhutan. Located in the centre of Bhutan is of great importance in the history of Bhutan.