|The Dragon Kingdom
Bhutan often revered as the ‘Land of the Peaceful
Dragon’ is still regarded as one of the last ‘Shangrilas’
in the Himalayan region because of its remoteness, it’s
spectacular mountain terrain, Varied flora and fauna its
unique ancient Buddhist monasteries. It is in the relatively
unexplored pockets of Asia which allows only limited number
of discerning travelers to enter the country in order
to protect its fragile environment and culture.
Bhutan a purely Buddhist Himalayan Kingdom is unsurpassed
in its scenic majesty and vibrant culture. The kingdom
shares with Nepal the world’s greatest concentration
of mountains and living heritage of Buddhism. The fifty
minutes flight from Kathmandu to Paro can truly be described
as a flight into fantasy. During the flight a first
hand close up view of Mt. Everest, Mt. Kanchenjunga
and other famous peaks become reality. Biweekly flights
between these two kingdoms have made easier travel to
the long isolated Dragon Kingdom of Bhutan.
Drukpa Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism is the state
religion but the Nyingma School is also well represented
in the central and eastern districts.
The monsoons start in mid June and lasts until the end
of September. The climate within the mountains varies
greatly according to precipitation and wind conditions.
In the Duras plain and up to 1500m. the climate is sub-tropical
with high humidity and heavy rainfall. The climate of
mid-mountain belt varies, such that low-lying parts
of Punakha, Mongar, Tashigangs and Lhuntse have cool
winter and hot summers, whereas the higher valleys of
Ha, Paro, Thimpu, Tongsa and Bumthang ranging from 2,500
– 4,500m. endure a temperate climate with cold
snowy winters and somewhat cooler summers.
lies between 890 and 920 E and 270 and 280 N
minutes ahead of Indian Standard Time. 6 hours
ahead of GMT
are two main population groups in Bhutan: the Drukpa
(67% of Tibetan and Monpa origin) and
Lhotsampa (30% of Nepalese origin).
The rest 3% comprise of indigenous tribal groups
Such as Toktop, Doya and Lepcha of SW Bhutan
|Spring is rhododendron season in Bhutan.
The mountain-sides all over the country are ablaze in
shades of red and orange. Days are warm but nights are
still cold. As the monsoon rises from the Bay of Bengal,
spring turns to summer and three months of heavy monsoon
rains. Arguably the loveliest time of the year in Bhutan,
autumn brings clear skies & warm days.
In 1995, the per capita income was estimated at US $ 500
with the annual growth at 5%. Although these figures places
Bhutan among the least developed nations the country is
unlike others within that category as no famine, little
malnutrition, good housing, exists. Over 91% of the populations
depend on agriculture and livestock rearing which together
account for some 50% of GDP, despite the fact that only
2% of the land is arable.
The National currency is Ngultrum (Nu) 100 Chetrum =
1 Nu. Exchange rate is approximately US $ 1 = Nu. 42.75
(1999) Indian Rupees circulate at par.