Bhutan – the land of the thunder kite
Bhutan’s name probably comes from Indian Sanskrit. There, the word Bhu-uttan denotes a high-lying landscape. In fact, the relatively small monarchical state of Bhutan is located on the border between Central and South Asia in the Himalayan area. In the local language, however, one calls Bhutan Druk Yul, which translated means something like land of the thunder dragon and goes back to a legend from the 12th century: According to this, a Buddhist teacher suddenly heard loud thunder during the consecration of a monastery in central Tibet interpreted as a roar of a dragon.
Bhutan has only recently opened up to the outside world and is therefore still very much shaped by the centuries-old, traditional Bhutanese culture, for which Buddhism is decisive in all areas of daily life. The numerous dzongs – the Buddhist monasteries – are also the administrative seat of spiritual and worldly power.
Three different ethnic groups live in Bhutan. As a result of a campaign since 1991 against the Lhotshampas, Bhutanese of Nepalese descent, over 100,000 members of this ethnic group fled to Nepal, where they still live in isolation in refugee camps today. The members of the Bhutanese Exile Party (BPP) are called enemies of the state and are subject to numerous repression measures. But since King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck (born 1980) took office, the country has made great strides towards democratization.
The country’s constitution guarantees people the right to happiness. For example, gross national happiness is measured and published.
|Name of the country||Kingdom of Bhutan(Tibetan: Druk Yul = dragon kingdom )|
|Form of government||Hereditary monarchy|
|Geographical location||Bhutan lies at the intersection between Central and South Asia and in the area of the Himalayas.|
|National anthem||Send to print|
|Head of state||King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck (since December 9, 2006)|
|Population||750,000 (Credit: Countryaah: Bhutan Population)|
|Ethnicities||Ngalung or Drukpas, a hill tribe of Tibetan descent Sharchhop, original residents of Bhutan, who live mainly in the eastern parts of the country; Lhotshampas, people of Nepalese descent who live mainly in the southern parts of the country|
|Religions||Lamaistic tantric Buddhism(Mahajana Buddhism of the “red hat sect” is the state religion in Bhutan. Approx. 72% follow it.)
Furthermore, Hinduism is practiced, to which approx. 25% belong in Bhutan.
Around 2.5% are Christians
|Languages||Dzongkha is the official languageEnglish is widely spoken.|
|Capital||Thimphu with approx. 100,000 residents|
|Highest mountain||Kula Kangri with a height of 7,554 m|
|Longest river||The main rivers of Bhutan are Torsa, Wang, Sankosh, Mangde, Dangme and Kuru.|
|Largest lake||Tai Tamm dam|
|International license plate||BTN|
|Currency||1 ngultrum (NU) = 100 chetrums (Ch)Indian rupees are usable and have the same value.|
|Difference to CET||+ 5 h|
|International phone code||+ 975|
|Mains voltage, frequency||240 volts and 50 hertz|
|Internet TLD (Top Level Domain)||.bt|
Bhutan by the 20th century
The first evidence of the settlement of Bhutan comes from around 2000 BC. The missionary Padmasambhava (“the lotus-born”) brought tantric Buddhism to Bhutan in the 8th century, which still shapes the cultural and political life of the country as the state religion.
In the 17th century, Bhutan was unified under the leadership of the Drukpa sect Lama Shabdung Ngawang Namgyal from Tibet.
In 1865 the British occupied Bhutan and enforced a peace treaty, but without colonizing the country.
20th century until today
According to Abbreviationfinder website, in 1907 Ugyen Wangchuk, the great-grandfather of the current king, was elected and crowned as the first king of Bhutan. The Punakha Treaty was signed between Great Britain and Bhutan in 1910. Great Britain pledged non-interference in Bhutan’s internal affairs. In return, Bhutan undertook to seek advice from Great Britain on its foreign affairs. In 1949, after India’s independence in 1947, the Indo-Bhutanese treaty was concluded, which adopted the provisions of the 1910 treaty with Great Britain. In August 1949, Bhutan regained its independence. The Bhutanese border with Tibet was closed in 1959 after it was occupied by the People’s Republic of China.
From 1960, Bhutan opened itself cautiously to the outside world, which was accompanied by recordings of diplomatic relations with neighboring countries and smaller European states, road construction, reforms of the school and health system and development planning with Indian support. In 1971 Bhutan finally joined the United Nations. The current King Jigme Singye Wangchuk took office on July 24, 1972. In 1998 there were democratic reforms, an extensive cabinet reshuffle and in 1999 the possibility of motions of no confidence in the king was introduced.
The establishment of diplomatic relations with Singapore, Australia and Canada followed in 2003. On 08/20/2004 the investiture of the son SM, Crown Prince Dasho Jigme Khesar Nemgyel Wangchuk, to the Trongsa Penlop (Chloetse Penlop) was celebrated. The declaration marked the completion of the training of the Crown Prince to become the future regent of the country.
On December 9th, Dasho Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck (born 1980) became king of the country. But it was not until November 6, 2008 that his father solemnly crowned him “King of the Dragon”. Since then, great strides have been made towards democratizing the country.