Bhutan is a land locked country. It has China (Tibet) in the north and India in the south. The country has a total area of 47,000 square kilometers and has roughly a population of 750,000 people. Bhutan’s official language is Dzongkha but it has a variety of local dialects stretching from the west to the east.
Bhutanese men wear what is known as ‘gho’ and women ‘kira’. You will notice that out of every 10 people 7 are wearing their national attires. In Bhutan while visiting temples, dzongs, lhakhangs and offices every Bhutanese must wear their national attire.
Buddhism is mainly practiced in Bhutan although the Bhutanese constitution guarantees freedom of religion and citizens and visitors are free to practice any form of worship so long as it does not impinge on the rights of others.
Buddhism was first introduced by the Indian Tantric master Guru Padmasambhava in the 8th century. The Buddhism practiced in the country today is a vibrant rich religion that practically rules the Bhutanese life style. The chime of ritual bells, sound of gongs, people circumambulating the temples and stupas, fluttering prayer flags, red robed monks conducting rituals stand as a testament to the importance of Buddhism in the Bhutanese life.
Bhutan proudly boasts of its forest cover that is 72% of the country. It is one of the bio diversity hotspots in the world. Bhutan is divided into three zones that is the Alpine zone (4000m and above), Temperate zone (2000m – 4000m) and Subtropical zone (150m -2000m) Bhutan has about 300 species of medicinal plants and about 46 species of rhododendrons. Thanks to Bhutan’s unspoiled natural environment, some of the rarest animals on earth like,
Snow leopards, blue sheep, red pandas, musk deer thrive in this land. Bhutan is also an excellent spot for bird watching. The recorded number of bird species found in Bhutan as of now is over 670 out of which 16 birds are species that are endangered worldwide.
The national language of Bhutan is called “Dzongkha”. Due to the geographical location of the country Bhutan is linguistically rich. Over nineteen dialects are spoken in the country. Every Bhutanese who have had education is able to speak, read and write fluent English. This is attributed to the education system of Bhutan where English is the medium.
Bhutan may be a small country, but it has a rich diverse culture. With development and catching up with the trend of the rest of the world, every step is taken with care not to affect the culture and tradition of the country.
Tshechus play an important role in the lives of the Bhutanese. Not only do they preserve Bhutan’s rich culture and traditions but also provide spiritual significances to the people. The tshechus usually comprise of spiritual mask dances and jesters known as Atsaras are seen strolling around teasing people. Atsaras are more than just a jester. The dances and the jestings are believed to chase away evil forces and prevent them from causing harm during tshechus.