Bengal. Located in the heart of the high
Himalayan mountain range, Bhutan is a land-locked
country surrounded by mountains in the north
and west. Altitudes in the south range from
1000 to 4500 feet. In the more populated
central regions range from 400 feet in the
east around Tashigang to a high of 17,000
feet over the highest pass. The altitude
at Thimphu the capital is 7,700 feet.
of 600,000 is made up primarily of indigenous
Bhutanese known as the Drukpa. Three main
ethnic groups, the Ngalops, Sharchops and
the Lotshampas make up today’s
Drupka. The Ngalops migrated from the Tibetan
plains and are the importers of Buddhism
into Bhutan. The Sharchops reside predominantly
in eastern Bhutan and their origin can be
traced to the tribes of north Burma and
north east India. The lower southern regions
are inhabited by Lhotshampas who are mostly
agricultural workers. The geography of the
land kept each ethnic group separate until
the middle of this century when roads were
built across the country. The contrasting
ethnic diversity has meant that a number
of different languages and dialects are
spoken throughout the kingdom. The National
language is Dzogkha which is taught in all
Children The Buddhist faith has played and
continues to play a fundamental role in
the cultural, ethical and sociological development
of Bhutan and its people. It permeates all
strands of secular life, bringing with it
a reverence for the land its well being.
Annual festivals are held in each district
which are important spiritual occasions.
Festivals are becoming a major attraction
to tourists visiting Bhutan.
is perhaps the only country in the world
to retain the tantric form of Mahayana Buddhism
as its official religion. To ensure the
perpetuation of Buddhism in the Kingdom,
one son from each family normally attends
monastic school. While the Dzongs are centres
of administrative and government activities
for all the valley, they are also predominantly
the homes and temples of the monastic community.
Bhutan enjoys four seasons each having its
advantages and disadvantages to the visitor.
The southern plains close to the Indian
border are warmer and more tropical than
higher central valleys.
Spring is perhaps the most beautiful time
of the year when the fierce cold that characterises
the winter months tends to subside towards
the end of February with beautiful Rhododendron
blooming with spectacular flaming red, pink
and white colours. Summer months in the
southern region are generally hot whereas
in other parts of the country it is warm
and pleasant with average maximum temperatures
not exceeding 30 degrees Celsius and the
minimum at around 10-15 degrees Celsius.
The annual monsoon from the Bay of Bengal
is also experienced around the country between
June and September.
The autumn months from September to November
bring shorter days and cooler evenings.
The days are crisp with clear skies. Views
over the Himalayas are usually the best
during September to March. Beginning December
the weather takes on its winter coat where
days remain crisp and the nights turn cold.
The southern region however being much lower
has a more temperate climate and considerably