Bhutan, a small Kingdom in the Himalayas, borders China to the North and India to the East, South and West. Commonly known as Druk Yul, the Land of Thunder Dragon with an approximately 38,400 sq. km. is gifted with an aesthetic natural environment and unique cultural heritages that have largely remained intact through the ages. Bhutan’s landscape ranges from sub-tropical plains in the south to the sub-alpine Himalayan heights in the north, with some peaks exceeding 7,000 metres (23,000 ft) above sea level. The country is divided into twenty Dzongkhag (district) administrations. The twenty dzongkhags are further divided into 205 Gewogs (Blocks).
From the 7th century onwards, Bhutan saw the integration of already existing Bhutanese culture with Buddhism, which always played an important role in the way of life of Bhutanese, and shaped the institution, organizations, arts, drama, architecture, literature and social structure. The state religion is Vajrayana Buddhism, and the population of 691,141 is predominantly Buddhist, followed by Hinduism and others.
The national dress for Bhutanese men is the gho, a knee-length robe tied at the waist by a cloth belt known as the kera. Women wear an ankle-length dress, called kira, which is clipped at shoulders and tied at the waist. An accompaniment to the kira is a long-sleeved blouse, the toego, which is worn underneath the outer layer.
The peaceful people of Bhutan are mainly of three ethnic groups. The Ngalops (westerners), the Sharshops (easterner) and the Lhotsampa (southerner). The people of Bhutan are naturally well-built and hard working. Contrary to their tough physical looks, they are peace and fun loving. The Bhutanese people are best known for its hospitality and well-mannered to the outsiders.
Bhutan became a member of the United Nations on 21st September, 1971 and is also a founding member of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).
In 2008, Bhutan made the transition from absolute monarchy to constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary democratic system.
This picturesque Last Shangri-La is one of the world best-kept secrets. It should thus be hardly surprising that, as you read this, you find yourself among the few people in the world who know that such a country, as Bhutan even exists.