Situated in the Himalayas, the kingdom
of Bhutan, is bordered by Tibet in the north and India in the south. It is a
nation which closely guards its culture and traditions. Possessing a
well-conserved pristine natural environment and packed with eye catching
sceneries, Bhutan is unique and fascinating in many ways.
Bhutan is the last surviving Mahayana Buddhist state which has shaped the
nation's history, and it still plays an important part in the lives of the
people. People in villages as well as in cities still wear their traditional
dress and its surprising that TV and the Internet have not changed the
people's age-old traditions supporting the countries name as "The
Official name :
Kingdom of Bhutan
The Kingdom of Bhutan is a small, mountainous nation of
south Asia located in the eastern Himalayas between India and China.
Ngultrum (BTN);1 BTN = 1.0003 Indian rupee = 0.01891 Euro
= 0.02299 US Dollars. (subject to change)
Capital city :
Dzongkha, Tibetan, Nepali.
Buddhist (75%), Hindu (25%).
47000 sq km.
Ethnic Groups :
Bhote : 50%, Ethnic Nepalese : 35%, Indigeneous or
migrant tribes : 15%.
Famous for :
Tea, beautiful postage stamps(they make everything from
three dimensional stamps to stamps that you can play like a record).
Major cities :
Timphu, Phuntsholing, Punakha and Paro.
Neighbouring countries :
The Kingdom Bhutan borders China to the
north and India to the south, east and west.
Comfortable clothing and sturdy, soft-soled shoes are
essential for travel in Bhutan. Warm clothing is recommended ; and except
for summer months, down jackets and woolen sweaters are suggested. In
summer, heavy cottons and lightweight woolens will be acceptable.
Major events :
The largest and most colourful festival, tsechus
takes place at Bhutan's zongs and monasteries once a year, in honour of Guru
Things to Buy :
Colorful masks, hand-woven bamboo items, wood
carvings, stamps (coveted by collectors), silver, silk, tea and bronzes.
Handmade paper products, Buddhist paintings and religious thangkas.
to do :
Non veg - Yak meat (preparation of meat is 'Pa', a curry);
Veg - vegetarian dish made of cheese and chilli(Ema Datshi), momos.;
Beverages Suja', butter tea; 'Ara', a locally made wine,
Bumthang, a rare tea.
Bhutan is one of the most secluded nations in the world, and access for
foreigners is restricted to certain areas, although these are expanding.
Valid passports and an entry visa are essential except for Indian &
Most of the population lives in small rural villages and supports itself
through agriculture, growing crops or breeding yaks; urbanisation, however,
is increasing. The Buddhist religion is an important part of life.
Bhutan, the last Mahayana Buddhist Kingdom, is influenced with teachings of
this school of Buddhism even today. Spirituality is pervasive even in the
urban centres where the spinning of prayer wheels, the chanting of mantras
and the glow of butter lamps in the houses are still important features of
When to go
The best time to visit Bhutan is October and November and during major
festivals. The climate is best in autumn, from late September to late
November, when skies are clear and the high mountain peaks are visible. This
is the ideal time for trekking and for travelling throughout the country.
You're likely to get wet no matter what the season, but avoid the monsoon,
Climate of Bhutan varies with altitude where days are normally warm and
nights are quite chilly.
Average winter temperature:
Maximum - 16.9 Degree Centigrade;
Minimum - 5.4 Degree Centigrade.
Maximum : 4.7 Degree Centigrade; Minimum - 16.8
Hottest - 37.5 Degree Centigrade; Coldest - (-10) Degree
There are two ports of entry into Bhutan:
By Air :
One can opt for Druk Air via Paro International Airport,
the only airport in the country.
By Road :
From India via the southern gateway, the city of
Phuntsholing, one can enter Bhutan. From Bagdogra airport or New Jalpaiguri
station , Phuntsholing is 170 kms away i.e a driving time of 4 1/2 hrs. The
journey through the plains is through picturesque tea gardens and the famous
Jaldapara WLS with the mountains visible in the distance. From Phuntsholing,
Thimphu is 176 kms or 6 hrs drive away. If you are visiting Darjeeling,
Kalimpong or Gangtok, then by starting early in the morning, you will be
able to reach Phuntsholing by evening.
Neither there is a domestic airlines nor a railway service in the city so
the only way to move within the country is either on foot or by road.
Thimphu, the Capital city
The capital of Bhutan, and the centre of government, religion and commerce.
It is a unique city, with an unusual amalgamation of modern development and
Thimphu is perhaps the most unusual capital city in the world. The
Tashichho Dzong is the most prominent landmark, the National Library(with a
vast collection of ancient Buddhist manuscripts, religious and historical
literature), the Thangka Painting School, the Memorial Chorten built in
memory of the third King, are some of the important monuments in the city
Thimphu is an unusual city with houses still made in the traditional style
and still there are no traffic lights and this will remain long into the
21st century as one of the world's most pristine capital cities.
Monasteries and Temples
Isolated from the rest of the city, erected in a valley or hanging against
a cliff face, the temples and monasteries of Bhutan have contributed to the
country's glorious past. Over the centuries, saints and lamas have
supervised their construction.
Like in Tibet, the temples in Bhutan are referred as lha-khang
(home of the gods) and the monasteries gom-pa (solitary place).
The religious buildings are always devoted to prayer and meditation.
However, while a temple will accommodate only a few monks who are
responsible for its maintenance and upkeep, the monasteries can house a
large community with often more than 100 monks. The monasteries are
basically places of study, with the teaching and training of novices forming
an important part of their work.
Paro Dzong (Tiger's Nest Monestary), Rinpung Dzong, Drukgyel Dzong, are
some of the major monasteries in Paro and Tashichho Dzong and Simtokha Dzong