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  • Bhutan Heron Travels

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Kuensel : BBS : Bhutan Times : Bhutan Observer


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Bhutan,the very name is evocative,at once both delicate  and scared as the word trips off the tongue. In its own way Bhutan is better known as last Shangri-La or land of  the Thunder Dragon. Bhutan is  a landlocked country between two great countries, China at the north and India to the south. Bhutans'  population is approx 700000 people nestling above the  swirling clouds like some ethereal destination,a retreat  from the busy world. Each dawn greeted by the chants of  buddhist monks, a magnet for those in search of  tranquility.

A  Buddhist nation with rich and unique  culture, profound architecture, particularly those that are  religious with iconography mostly manifested in  monasteries and Dzongs. It is difficult to describe Bhutan's nature and landscape, with government's policy of preserving 60% forest cover in all times, it have rich bio-diversity. Therefore,  Bhutan Heron Travels feels privileged to take you  on a magnificent tour, such as cultural and trekking through this beautiful country with snow-capped mountains, lush  valleys, enchanting villages, cascading rivers and warm hearted people. A country full of contrasts and drama, meadows bursting with flowers and songs of diversity of birds, its a nation that has  learned to adapt to forces of nature.

Bhutan is the only country to maintain Mahayana Buddhism in its Tantric Vajrayana form as the official religion. The main practicing schools are the state sponsored Drukpa Kagyupa and the Nyingmapa. Whereas Buddhism is the main religion in the northern and eastern Bhutan , Southern Bhutanese are mainly Hindus.

The Tantric Buddhism is based on the same fundamental beliefs as other forms of Buddhism: that the consequences of actions in previous lives, or Karma, force all beings to reincarnate. All human effort should aim towards enlightenment, which means release from the cycle of incarnations into the state of Nirvana, annihilation of the suffering which accompanies all existence. This state of non-suffering leads to the idea of the Absolute, or the Void, a state in which there is no distinction between a subject of its thoughts. Indeed, the sensory world of ‘things’ has only a phenomenological existence and possesses no true reality except on the plane of Relative Truth. The phenomena have no intrinsic being despite the illusion of reality that they project and do not exist on the Absolute Truth.

Nevertheless, Mahayana Buddhism, and therefore Tantric Buddhism, recognizes a pantheon of symbolic deities and bodhisattvas, or ‘Buddhas-to-be’. These enlightened beings have attained the option of Nirvana but they voluntarily decline it and reincarnate in the world of humans in order to help others.

Bhutan is a land locked country, approximately 300km long and 150km wide, with an overall size of 38,394 square kilometres. It is situated along the southern slopes of the Himalayan range between the parallels 26 30’ of north latitude and 88. 45 and 92 25’ of east longitude. It is bounded by Tibet in the north, the Indian Sikkim and Darjeeling districts of West Bengal in the west, on the south by Assam and West Bengal and on the east by the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh.

The northern region consists of an arc of glaciated mountain peaks with and extremely cold climate at the highest elevations, Most of the peaks over 23,000 feet (7,000Metres) above sea level.

The Black mountains in central Bhutan form a watershed between two major river systems: the Mo Chhu and the Dragme Chhu. The peaks in the Black mountains range from 4,900 and 8,900 feet (1,500 m and 2,700m) above sea level and fast flowing rivers have carved out deep gorges in the lower mountain areas. Woodland in the central region provides most of Bhutan ’s forest production.

In the south, the Shiwalik Hills are covered with dense, deciduous forests, alluvial lowland river valleys, and mountains up to 4,900feet (1,500 metres) above sea level. The foothills descend into the subtropical Duars plains. Most of the Duars is located in India , although a 6-9 miles wide strip extends into Bhutan . The Bhutan Duars is divided into two parts: the northern and the southern Duars. The northern Duars, which abuts the Himalayan foothills, has rugged, sloping terrain and dry, porous soil with dense vegetation and abundant wildlife. The southern Duars has moderately fertile soil, heavy savannah grass, dense, mixed jungle, and freshwater springs. Mountain rivers, fed by either the melting snow or the monsoon rains, empty into Brahmaputra river in India . Bhutan still has over 64 percent of forest cover.

Facts and Figures

Total Land area: 38,394 square kilometres

Forest coverage: 72.5 %

Altitude range: from 200metres to 7500metres above sea level

Inhabitants:  about 0.7million  people

Language: “Dzongkha”is the national language, but English is also widely spoken

Religion: “Drukpa Kadju” (Mahayana Buddhism)

Currency: Ngultrum (equal to Indian Rupee)

Capital: Thimphu (Western Bhutan)

National Tree: Cypress(Cupressus torulosa) a broadly pyramidal tree to 35m seen near temples

National Flower: Blue Poppy (Meconopsis grandis)Rich blue or purple grows in high-altitute

National Bird: Rave (Corvus corax) a large heavy jet black high-altitute crow

National Animal: Takin(Budorcas taxicolor) A size of a cow, head resembles goat                         

National Game : Archery(Made of bamboos)

National Dress: “Gho”worn by male and “Kera & Tego” worn by female

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