Bhutan at a glance
People value compassion, empathy and containment, and these values are woven into the fabric of life of people in Bhutan in pursuit of their happiness. Gross National Happiness in this context is an enabler.
Country size: 38,394 sq.km divided into 20 districts
Mountains/valleys of Eastern Himalaya; Gangkhar Puensum (7,570m/24,836ft)-the highest unclimbed mountain in the world.
Population: 754,951 people (2017)
Capital: Thimphu with 120,000 people (2017)
Telephone: 00975 + telephone number
Electricity: 230 V
Time: GMT+6 hours
Society and Culture
People, dialect and language
People: Prior to the construction of roads in the 60's, the inaccessible topography of steep mountains and deep valleys has developed a very localized culture and dialects among various communities in Bhutan. Consequently, people in the eastern, southern and western parts of the country have different dialects, food habits, tradition and culture. However, the present creative technology is transforming the society, and the societal distinctiveness is undergoing transformation.
Language and dialect: While over 19 dialects are spoken in the country, Dzongkha (རྫོང་ཁ)is the only language with a native written script tradition in the country. As such, it is used as the medium of communication. English is equally used for communication in the country.
Politics and society
Politics: While hereditary monarchy was established in 1907, Parliamentary democracy started in 2008.
In the parliamentary setup, the party that wins the majority seats in the National Assembly (lower house) of the parliament-- consists of National Assembly and National Council (upper house)-- forms the government and appoints a prime minister candidate from the constituency elected members. The King appoints the nominated candidate as the Prime Minister of the Government.
Society: As a society and culture, principles of Buddhism and practices of Bon traditions have influenced mindsets, art, architecture, life, festivals, food and other aspect of life of people of Bhutan.
Festivals are mostly Tshechus, colorful and exuberant buddhist festivals that take place annually across the country. Everyone comes together to receive blessings, sing, dance, and celebrate life. People believe it cleanses their sins and pave way for peaceful passage now and in after life. Few festivals are listed as World's intangible heritage.
Art is expressed in several forms of paintings, crafts, stories, behaviors, structures, etc. The constant form of art in all these expressions is harmony, peace, compassion, empathy and fairness. However, some expression of art invoke debates on views and perception, such as the art of phallus that is prevalent across the country.
Dzong (fortress) and Monastry
In Bhutan, ancient Dzongs (fortresses) and buddhist monasteries represent architectural masterpiece.The structures, curvings and paintings are very intricate in various forms and shapes. Historically designed to to guard against enemies, they are now administrative centers and monasteries for monks. They are the spots for political, administrative, religious and social gatherings for people.
Salty, bitter, umami, hot chili spicy taste dominate average cuisine flavors in Bhutan. Not much of sour and sweet taste. Rice is a staple food. Contemporary pub foods like yak burgers are beginning to provide new taste to food enthusiasts.