Bhutan (Dzongkha: འབྲུག་ཡུལ), officially the Kingdom of Bhutan, is a country in the Himalayas (in South Asia). Bhutan is a kingdom, and is ruled by the Druk Gyalpo ("Dragon King"). The current king of Bhutan is Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, who has been the king of Bhutan since 2006.
In a general survey in 2006, Bhutan was rated the happiest country in Asia, and the 8th happiest country in the world. Bhutan is a member of the United Nations, and the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).
Bhutan's currency is the ngultrum.
Where is Bhutan?
Bhutan is located in southern Asia on the eastern half of the Himalayas. It is a landlocked country, meaning there is no sea bordering the country. China is found towards the north, while India is found towards the south. The Indian state of Sikkim comes in between Nepal and Bhutan.
How many people live in Bhutan?
As of 2013, around 753,947 people live in Bhutan. The largest city of Bhutan is also its capital, Thimphu, with around 91,000 people (2011). The second biggest city in Bhutan is Phuntsholing, which has 20,537 people (2005), and the third is Punakha, with 18,000 people (2005).
What are the most common languages in Bhutan?
The national language of Bhutan is Bhutanese, which is also known as Dzongkha. Around 24 different languages are spoken in Bhutan, such as Sharchokpa, Nepali, and Bumthangkha.
What is the most common religion in Bhutan?
Vajrayana Buddhism is the state religion of Bhutan and the most common religion with around two-thirds to three-quarters of the Bhutanese people adhering to the old Buddhist tradition. Around one-quarter to one-third of Bhutan's people are followers of Hinduism, although Hinduism is more common in the southern part of the country. Less than 1 percent have a religion other than Buddhism or Hinduism. It is free to practice religion in Bhutan, but it is not allowed to convince another person to change religion.
What is the sport of Bhutan?
Archery is the national sport of Bhutan, with archery competitions widespread across the country. The type of archery commonly practiced in Bhutan is different than that being used in the Olympics. Other popular sports in Bhutan are football and cricket.
What are some important sights?
- Paro Taktsang (commonly known as the Tiger's Nest) is a monastery found near Paro Valley. It was first built in 1692 around the Taktsang Senge Samdup cave. It is said that in the 8th century, Guru Padmasambhava, a Buddhist master who introduced Buddhism to Bhutan, meditated in the Paro Taktsang for three years, three months, three weeks, three days and three hours! The monastery is best known for the thirteen Taktsang, or "tiger lair" caves, in which he is said to have meditated in.
- The Drukgyal Dzong is a ruined fortress and Buddhist monastery in the upper part of the Paro District (in Phondey Village). It is said that in 1649, Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel created the fortress to commemorate his victory against the Tibetan-Mongol forces. In 1951, a fire caused for only some of the relics of the Drukgyal Dzong to remain, such as the image of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. After the fire, the fortress was preserved and protected, remaining to be one of Bhutan's most sensational attractions.
- Kurjey Lhakhang is the site of the burial of the first three kings of Bhutan. Located in Bumthang Valley (in the Bumthang district), the exquisite site hosts a large tree, which is believed to be terma (a number of hidden religious teachings of Buddhism) placed by Guru Padmasambhava.