A MAP OF BHUTAN
Never colonized, Bhutan is about the size of Switzerland with a population of 730,000. It is ruled by His Majesty, King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck.
It rises from180m above sea level along its borders with India in the south to its 7,550m snow-clad Himalayan peak on its northern border with Tibet, China.
The capital of this last Mahayana Buddhist Kingdom and world’s youngest democracy is Thimphu. The national language is Dzongkha while English is spoken as an official language.
Taking pride in being one of world’s greenest countries, Bhutan has a forest cover of 80% with 50% of its territory protected as parkland. No wonder Bhutan is home to an astonishing range of flora and fauna with …… species of birds including the rare black-necked crane and the white bellied heron and … species of mammals including the rare snow leopard, Rhinoceros and Elephants.
|National Animal:||Takin (Budorcas Taxicolor)|
|National Bird:||Raven (Corvus Corax Tibetanus)|
|National Flower:||Blue Poppy (Mecanopsis Grandis)|
|Currency:||Ngultrum at par with the Indian rupee.|
|Time:||6hrs. ahead of GMT.|
|National Day:||December 17|
|Gross National Happiness Day:||11th November|
|International Day of Happiness:||20th March|
WHY IS BHUTAN AN EXCLUSIVE DESTINATION? Although, in recent years, Bhutan has become one of the most coveted destinations in the world, it remains an exclusive dreamland as portrayed in Daisy Foote’s “Bhutan”, a recent play off Broadway in New York. This has much to do with its being the ‘land of happiness’ and the last bastion of Mahayana Buddhism that once extended through much of Northern Asia with Tibet as its heartland. It is also attributable to the Royal Government’s policy of ‘high value – low impact’ tourism, which is bolstered by the steady stream of culture sensitive, Eco-friendly and high-end tourists.
The National Geographic Magazine describes the kingdom as “tantalizing as the sighting of a rare and beautiful bird”. The New York Times calls it a “must-see destination”, and Summit Magazine believes Bhutan deserves “the traveler’s most precious adjective: unchanged”.