Thimpu- Bhutan P.O Box NU-952
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Guided by this premise, Golden Bhutan is a Sister concern of Golden vacation (India) a well established travel company with its local office at Thimpu. We offer tourism services promoting the principle of “value, responsible and sustainable tourism” through reliable, personalized and professional services to all its esteemed clientele. The team is headed by Director - Mr. Manoj Choudhury & Supervised by Director Operation - Mr. Joy Bhattacharjee. Who are well versed in all aspects of tourism.Our bulk purchasing power enables us to provide competitive pricing with availability of rooms in high season to our trade partners.
We want to build a company that focuses exclusively to provide a memorable “Travel experience in Bhutan” with the help of its dedicated well trained and highly professional team of experienced staff and its access to quality facilities.Read More
Our expert team will work in collaboration with our industry-leading tour guides (who boast over 15 years of experience) to create a personalized trip for YOU. Imagine yourself taking a fascinating journey.Read More
Cater yourself with a comprehensive exploration of the different hues of Indian culture.Read More
Grab great trekking opportunities filled with a lot of natural beauty, sprinkled all around.Read More
From barren desert to steep terrain, dense forests and sparkling beaches, choose your adventure.Read More
Enjoy a wonderful chance to enjoy a luxurious vacation along with near and dear ones.Read More
The thirteen arts and crafts known as Zorig Chusum, keeps the Bhutanese arts and architecture alive. There are two Zorig Chusum schools in Bhutan. Students are taught these thirteen arts and crafts which are painting, carpentry, carving, sculpture, casting, black smith, bamboo work, weaving, embroidery, masonry, paper work, leather work and silver and gold smith.
This magnificent architectural masterpiece of Bhutanese architects, the Dzong (fortress) are striking features in every province in Bhutan. Every dzongs are surrounded with myths and legends.
Today almost all the dzongs function as government offices and houses monks. In the olden days Dzongs were places of trade and an area where people would assemble to share in celebration with their fellow man, especially during the annual tshechu (mask dance festival).
The Dzongs are the symbols of unification and identity of Bhutan.
Everywhere in Bhutan Monasteries are common sights. Monasteries are the testimony of the spiritual nature of the kingdom and its people. Monasteries are located at the top of a rocky cliff, at the farthest horizons or on a hilltop.
Each monastery is significant in its own way and they are the centre for the local festivals and community ceremonies. A monastery will have a golden pinnacle on the roof-top and maroon -band painted on the top of its walls. There are many monasteries which houses monks. These monks perform all the religious needs of the community in its locality.
Bhutan is dotted with thousands of chortens also called stupas. The chortens represents the deep faith in Buddhism o Chortens in Bhutan represents the Vajrayana Buddhist art in the form of statues and wall paintings.f the people. Many chortens are built even today.
One of the most important chortens in Bhutan is the memorial chorten in the capital city Thimphu. This chorten is built in the memory of the third king of Bhutan.
Chortens are also built in memory of an individual, and other times to commemorate the visit of an enlightened buddhist masters, or to house sacred books and often the relics and bodies of great lamas and saints.
The basic architectural characteristics of most chortens are based on the five symbolic elements. The square or rectangular base symbolizes the earth; the half-spherical dome symbolizes water. Fire is represented by the conical or pyramidal spire. The 13 step-like segments present in many chortens are symbolic of the 13 steps leading to Buddha-hood. The crescent moon and the sun on top symbolize air, and a vertical spike symbolizes the sacred light of the Buddha. The life-spirit of the chorten is a carved wooden pole called the sokshing, which is placed inside the chorten.
The climate in Bhutan is extremely varied. This variation in the climatic conditions and average temperature can be attributed to two main factors, the vast differences in altitude present in the country and the influence of the north Indian monsoons. Southern Bhutan has a hot, humid sub-tropical climate that is fairly unchanging throughout the year. Temperatures can vary between 15-30 degrees Celsius. In the Central parts of the country the climate cools a bit, changing to temperate and deciduous forests with warm summers and cool, dry winters. In the far Northern reaches of the kingdom the weather is cold during winter. Mountain peaks are perpetually covered in snow and lower parts are still cool in summer owing to the high altitude terrain.
The Indian summer monsoon lasts from late-June through late-September and is mostly confined to the southern border region of Bhutan. It brings heavy rain and high humidity, to the southern region. These rains bring between 60 and 90 percent of the western region’s rainfall.
Annual precipitation ranges widely in various parts of the country. In the northern border region to Tibet gets about forty millimeters of precipitation a year which is primarily snow. In the temperate central regions, a yearly average of around 1,000 millimeters is more common, and 7,800 millimeters per year has been registered at some locations in the humid, subtropical south. Thimphu experiences dry winter months (December through February) and almost no precipitation until March. Bhutan’s generally dry spring starts in early March and lasts until mid-April. Summer weather commences in mid-April with occasional showers and continues to late June. The heavier summer rains last from late June through late September which are more monsoonal along the southwest border. Autumn, from late September or early October to late November, follows the rainy season. It is characterized by bright, sunny days and some early snowfalls at higher elevations. From late November until March, winter sets in, with frost throughout much of the country and snowfall common above elevations of 3,000 meters. The winter northeast monsoon brings gale-force winds at the highest altitudes through high mountain passes, giving Bhutan its name Drukyul (Land of the Thunder Dragon).
Bhutan has unique and distinctive culture and tradition. A small kingdom with small population is proud of its diverse culture. To protect the sovereignty of the country, Bhutan feels it is important to preserve the culture and tradition. The uniqueness of the tradition and culture is visible in everyday life of the Bhutanese.
The birth of a child is welcomed without any gender discrimination. The first three days after the birth is considered to be polluted by kaydrip (defilement by birth). Thus outsiders do not visit the child for three days. Visitor pay visit after a purification ritual (Lhabsang) is conducted in the house. The names are generally given by religious person after the child is taken to the temple of local deity.The horoscope of the baby is written based on the Bhutanese calendar. This horoscope details out the time and date of the birth, predicts the future of the child, rituals to be executed at different stages in the life of the child as remedy to possible illness, problems and misfortune.
Festivals in Bhutan take place at different time of the year, in different places. The festival is known to Bhutanese as TSECHUTsechu are celebrated for several days ranging from minimum of 3 days – 5 days. One would be able to witness Bhutanese Folk Dances, religious dance, Mask Dances known as ‘Chaam’, and other religious dramas and epics of great known saint of Buddhism. These dances are performed by Monks.
Atsara or clowns, with their expressive masks are an indispensable element in any religious festival. They confront the monks, toss out jokes, and entertain the crowd. Atsara are believed to represent Acharyas (religious masters of India) they are the only people permitted to mock religion in a society where sacred matters are treated with the highest respect. During Tsechu Atsaras are allowed the freedom to express a formulaic challenge within an established framework that does not, however upset the social and religious order.
Most tshechus end with the displaying of a huge applique thangkha (scroll) called Thongdroel. The Thongdroel is unveiled at first light to bring enlightenment to all who view it. Buddhist believe that by simply viewing this Thongdroel, one can be delivered from the cycle of reincarnation. For the Bhutanese, religious festivals offer an opportunity to become immersed in the meaning of their religion and gain merit. It is also occasions for seeing people, and for being seen, for social exchanges, and for flaunting success. People wear their finest clothes and jewelries. Men and women joke and flirt. It is a good-spirited atmosphere for social gatherings.
Despite Bhutan’s small population there has been much economic development in recent years and the economy is growing rapidly, and year to come, Bhutan will have 100 % organic product.
While a large part of the Bhutanese population is still illiterate and reside in rural areas. Rapid modernization has brought about vast improvements in the living standard of the Bhutanese people. All villages now have access to basic amenities such as education, running water, basic healthcare and are connected by farm roads and electricity. Even the most remote villages have connection to the telecommunication network including mobile phone service
Bhutanese practice subsistence farming and animal husbandry. Its economy is based on agriculture, forestry and hydro-power. Handicrafts like weaving, wood craft, bamboo and cane craft, and paintings add to the income.
Bhutan has always been self-sufficient in terms of food consumption. The main food crops are maize, rice, buckwheat, barley and wheat. The cultivation of cash crops like apples, oranges, ginger and cardamom has added to the national revenue. Cattle products like milk, butter and cheese have been the major diet besides adding to the income of many farmers.
The main staple crops are rice, maize, wheat and buckwheat while cash crops are predominantly potatoes, apples, oranges, cardamom, ginger, and chilies. A fruit based industry has been established in the capital allowing farmers from the nearby areas to sell their produce and thereby earn additional revenue.
The Bhutanese economy is predominantly agricultural. Farmers supplement their income through the sale of animal products such as cheese, butter and milk. Farmers markets are common throughout the country, supplying the people with fresh, organic, local produce.
The Bhutanese Tourism Industry was first opened in 1974. Since then it has grown to become, a major contributing factor to the Bhutanese economy creating countless employment opportunities and generating additional revenue for the government.
The development in tourism has led to boom in arts and crafts. The tourist arrival has increased by manifolds.
The government is committed to building a sustainable tourism industry that is not only financially viable but also limits the negative cultural and environmental impacts commonly associated with the culture of mass tourism. By establishing a policy of High Value, Low Impact tourism, the kingdom of Bhutan seeks to ensure that it attracts only the most discerning visitors with a deep respect for cultural values, traditions and the natural environment.
To this end efforts have been made to ensure that even remote areas are publicized and able to reap the benefits of tourism while still respecting their traditions, culture and natural environment.
Due to its fast flowing, glacier-fed rivers, Bhutan has enormous potential to produce hydroelectricity. With the construction of several major dams, the power sector has undeniably been the biggest contributor to the Bhutanese exchequer. The 1500 MW of power they Bhutan generate, most is exported to our neighboring country India. With its abundant water resources, Bhutan still has the capacity to generate another 30,000 MW of electricity. However, the government is proceeding cautiously with new construction projects in order to minimize the impact upon the surrounding areas.
Bhutan has one of the highest per capita incomes in South Asia at USD $ 1,321. However despite this high level of growth and development, efforts stringent regulations have been enacted in order to protect Bhutan’s natural environment.
Due to Bhutan’s location and unique geographical and climatic variations, it is one of the world’s last remaining biodiversity hotspots. Bhutan pristine environment, with high rugged mountains and deep valleys, offers ecosystems that are both rich and diverse. Recognizing the importance of the environment, conservation of its rich biodiversity is one of the government’s development paradigms. The government has enacted a law that states we shall maintain at least 60% of its forest cover for all time. Today, approximately 72% of the total land area of Bhutan is under forest cover.
National Parks & wildlife sanctuaries
Each of Bhutan’s National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries are an essential part of the Bhutan Biological Conservation Complex a system of national parks, protected areas and forest corridors covering 60% of the country comprising of 10 national parks and sanctuaries. Each of these parks and sanctuaries has its own special character and are home to endangered animals, birds and plants. National park are created in such as way called – corridor – that the Animals can excess one park to another.
Flour & Fauna
Nestled deep within the Himalayas, with over 72 % forest coverage and wide range of altitude and climate, Bhutan has rich and diverse flora and fauna. Bhutan is a treasure trove of biological diversity with an unparalleled richness of flora and fauna due to the varied attitudinal and climatic conditions present in the country. This fragile ecosystem has remained unspoiled due to the conservation efforts of the Bhutanese people and government. Bhutan is the perfect destination for enthusiastic horticulturalists as it contains more than 60%of the common plant species found in the Eastern Himalayas. It also boasts of approximately 46 species of Rhododendrons and over 300 types of medicinal plants. Junipers, Magnolias, Orchids, Blue Poppies (the national flower), Edelweiss, Gentian, various medicinal herbs, Daphne, Giant Rhubarb, Pine and Oak trees are among the plants commonly found.
The kingdom is also home to a wide variety of animals. At higher altitudes you will come across snow leopards, blue sheep, red pandas, takin, marmots and musk deer. Leopards, gorals, gray langurs, Himalayan black bears, red pandas, sambars, wild pigs and barking deer are found in the temperate zones. The tropical forests in the south are a haven for clouded leopards, elephants, one horned Rhinoceros, water buffalos, golden langurs, gaurs, swamp deer, hog deer, horn bills and many other species. Bhutan is home to the highest altitude inhabiting Tigers in the world and they are commonly found throughout the country.
Visitors can experience the magnificent flora and fauna of Bhutan through sightseeing tours or by embarking on treks and hikes through beautiful virgin forests, pristine Himalayan Mountains and across sparkling crystal clear rivers fed by ancient mountain glaciers. Roads in Bhutan pass through the rich forests so travelers can experience the majestic natural environments of Bhutan.
The stone implements discovered in Bhutan indicate that the country was inhabited as early as 2000 B.C. The country came to be known as Druk Yul or The Land of the Drukpas sometime in the 17th century.
The name refers to the Drukpa sect of Buddhism that has been the dominant religion in the region since that period. Buddhism was introduced in the 7th century by the Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo and further strengthened by the arrival of Guru Rimpoche, a Buddhist Master that is widely considered to be the Second Buddha.
The country was first unified in 17th century by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel. After arriving in Bhutan from Tibet he consolidated his power, defeated twelve Tibetan invasions and established a comprehensive system of law and governance. His system of rule eroded after his death and the country fell into civil war between the various local rulers.
This continued until the Trongsa Poenlop Ugyen Wangchuck gained control of the country. And with the support of the people establish himself as Bhutan’s first hereditary King in 1907 and set up the Wangchuck Dynasty that still rules today.
In 2008 Bhutan enacted its Constitution and converted to a democracy in order to better safe, guard the rights of its citizens. Later in November 6th of the same year, the currently reigning 5th Druk Gyalpo Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck was officially crowned.
The rectangular national flag is diagonally divided into two parts with a white dragon on the divide. The upper half is yellow and the lower orange. The upper half signifies the secular power and authority of the king and the lower half represents the practice of religion and power of the Buddhism. The white dragon signifies the name of the country. The jewels in its claws stand for the wealth and perfection of the country.
Over 19 languages and dialects are spoken all over the country which makes Bhutan a multi-lingual society. Dzongkha was introduced as the national language of Bhutan. The language was used by the people working in the Dzongs (fortress). The dzongs was the seats of temporal and spiritual leaders.
17th December is marked as the National Day of Bhutan. On this day Gongsa Ugyen Wangchuck was crowned as the first king of Bhutan, in Punakha Dzong in 1907. He was elected unanimously by the people of Bhutan for restoring peace and order when he was the Trongsa Penlop
Blue Poppy (Meconopsis horridula) found on the rocky mountain terrain above the tree line (3500-4500) is the national flower of Bhutan. It is delicate blue or purple tinged blooms with a white filament. It grows to a height of 1 meter. The flower which is liked with myth of a yeti was discovered by a British Botanist in 1933 in remote part of Sakteng.
Takin (budorcas taxicolor) is the national animal of Bhutan. Takins have thick neck and short muscular legs. They live in groups and are found above 4000 meters high on the north-western and far north eastern parts of the country. They feed on bamboos and weigh about 250 kilograms. This very rare animal is associated with religious history and mythology.
Raven is the national bird of Bhutan. Raven which represents the chief guardian deity of Bhutan Gonpo Jarodongchen (raven headed Mahakala) also ornaments the royal crown.
Big cypresses (Cupressus torulosa) found near religions structures in the temperate zone, between 1800 and 3500 metes is the National Tree of Bhutan. Cypress, is associated with religion believes.
Archery is the national game of Bhutan. It is played between two teams wearing traditional dress. Each team members shoots a pair of arrow at a small wooded target placed 140 meters away. It is the most popular games played in Bhutan
Bhutanese people can be generally categorized into three main ethnic groups. The Tshanglas, Ngalops and the Lhotshampas. The other minority groups are the Bumthaps and the Khengpas of Central Bhutan, the Kurtoeps in Lhuentse, the Brokpas and the Bramis of Merak and Sakteng in eastern Bhutan, the Doyas of Samtse and the Monpas of Rukha villages in Wangdue Phodrang. Together the multiethnic Bhutanese population number just over 700,000.
Tshanglas: The Tshanglas or the Sharchops as they are commonly known, are considered the aboriginal inhabitants of eastern Bhutan. Tshanglas are according to historians, the descendants of Lord Brahma and speak Tshanglakha. They are commonly inhabitants of Mongar, Trashigang, Trashiyangtse, Pema Gasthel and Samdrup Jongkhar. Besides cultivation of maize, rice, wheat, barley and vegetables, the Tshanglas also rear domestic animals to supplement their living. Weaving is a popular occupation among their women and they produce beautiful fabrics mainly of silk and raw silk.
Ngalops: The Ngalops who have settled mostly in the six regions of western Bhutan are of Tibetan origin. They speak Ngalopkha, a polished version of Dzongkha, the national language of Bhutan. Agriculture is their main livelihood. They cultivate cereals such as rice, wheat, barley and maize along with a variety of other crops. In the regions of Thimphu and Paro apples are also cultivated as a cash crop.
Lhotshampas: The Lhotshampas have settled in the southern foothills of the country. It is believed that they migrated from Nepal in the beginning of the 19thcentury, attracted by the employment opportunities provided by the many constructions works taking place in the kingdom. They speak Lhotshamkha (Nepali) and practice Hinduism. Nowadays they are mainly employed in agriculture and cultivate cash crops like ginger, cardamom and oranges.
The Bumthaps, Mangdeps and Khengpas: The people who speak Bumtapkha, Mangdepkha and khengkha respectively inhabit the central areas of Bhutan. The Bumthaps cultivate buck wheat, potatoes and vegetables. A section of this population also rear yaks and sheep and produce fabrics of wool and yak hair. The Mangdeps depend on cultivation of rice, wheat, maize, vegetables, etc besides rearing domestic animals. The khengpas are also dependent on agriculture much like the Mangdeps, however, they are also known for the bamboo and cane craft.
Kurtoeps: Kurtoeps inhabit the eastern part of the country. Specifically the district of Lhuentse and the villages are found spread along the banks of Kurichu. Khoma women are expert weavers and are known for their skill in weaving the grandiose Kushithara.
The Brokpas and the Bramis: The Brokpas and the Bramis are a semi nomadic community. They are settled in the two villages of Merak and Sakteng in eastern Bhutan. They mostly depend on yaks and sheep for their livelihood and do not typically grow crops due to the high altitude zones they inhabit. They speak a different dialect and have their own unique dress that is made of yak hair and sheep wool.
The Layaps: To the extreme north are the Layaps who speak layapkha. They are semi-nomadic and their livelihood is dependent upon yaks and sheep. They use the products of their herd animals to barter rice, salt and other consumables with the people of WangduePhodrang and Punakha.
The Doyas: A tribal community that has settled mostly in southern Bhutan. They are considered the aboriginal inhabitants of western and central Bhutan, who over the years migrated and settled in the present areas in Dorokha. They have their own unique dialect and style of dress.
Monpas: The Monpas are a small community in Rukha under WangduePhodrang. Together with the Doyas they are also considered the original settlers of central Bhutan. They have their own unique dialect but unfortunately it is slowly dying out.
Food of Bhutan
The most distinctive characteristic of Bhutanese cuisine is its spiciness. Chilies are an essential part of nearly every dish and are considered so important that most Bhutanese people would not enjoy a meal that is not spicy.
Rice forms the main diet of most Bhutanese meals. It is accompanied by one or two side dishes consisting of meat or vegetables. Pork, beef and chicken are the meats that are eaten most often. Vegetables commonly eaten include Spinach, pumpkins, turnips, radishes, tomatoes, river weed, onions and green beans. Grains such as rice, buckwheat and barley are also cultivated in various regions of the country depending on the local climate.
The political system of Bhutan has evolved over time together with its tradition and culture. It has developed from a fragmented and a disoriented rule of the different regions by local chieftains, lords and clans into the parliamentary democracy we have in place today. The first move towards a systematic scheme of governance came in 1616 with the arrival of Zhabdrung Nawang Namgyal from Tibet. He introduced the dual system of governance with the Je Khenpo as the spiritual head of the nation and the Desis, as the head of the temporal aspects.
But a major breakthrough came about in 1907 when the people unanimously enthroned Ugyen Wangchuck as the fist hereditary King of Bhutan. He was the man who had proven his mettle by banding together the different Dzongpons and Penlops (governors of fortress), ending centuries of strife and bringing much needed stability and peace to the country. Since then, the country has been ruled by successive monarchs of the Wangchuck dynasty.
In a move to ensure a more democratic governance of the country, the Third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck instituted the National Assembly in 1953. Every County has an elected member representing it in the National assembly. It became a platform where the people representatives enacted laws and discussed issues of national importance.
The establishment of the Royal Advisory Council in 1963 as a link between the king, council of ministers and the people was another move towards democratization. It also advised the king and the council of ministers on important issues and ensured that projects were implemented successfully.
The institution of District Development Assembly in 1981 and County Development Assembly in 1991 by the Fourth King Jigme Singye Wangchuck was another move towards decentralization. But the devolution of the power of the King in 1998 to the cabinet ministers was the highest form of decentralization. The King, thereafter, began to serve as the Head of the State while the government was managed by the Prime Minister
The institution of District Development Assembly in 1981 and County Development Assembly in 1991 by the Fourth King Jigme Singye Wangchuck was another move towards decentralization. But the devolution of the power of the King in 1998 to the cabinet ministers was the highest form of decentralization. The King, thereafter, began to serve as the Head of the State while the government was managed by the Prime Minister.
The organs of the Bhutanese government comprise of the Legislature, Judiciary and the Executive. The ruling political party, the opposition and the National Council now forms the legislative body.
The Bhutanese constitution guarantees freedom of religion. Citizens and visitors are free to practice any form of worship so long as it does not impinge on the rights of others. Majority of the population are Buddhist thou Hinduism and small community of Christianity are also present in the country.
Bhutan is a Buddhist country and people often refer to it as the last stronghold of Vajrayana Buddhism. Buddhism was first introduced by the Tibetan king called Songtsen Gompo in the 7th century. After that it was reintroduced by the Indian Tantric master Guru Padmasambhava in the 8th century. Until then the people practiced Bonism a religion that worshipped all forms of nature, trace of which are still evident even today in some remote villages in the country.
With the visit of Guru Padmasambhava, Buddhism began to take firm roots within the country and this especially led to the propagation of the Nyingmapa (the ancient or the older) school of Buddhism. Phajo Drugom Zhigpo from Ralung in Tibet was instrumental in introducing yet another school of Buddhism the Drukpa Kagyu sect. In 1222 he came to Bhutan and established the Drukpa Kagyi sect of Buddhism, the state religion.
By far the greatest contributor was Zhabdrung Nawang Namgyal. His arrival in 1616 from Tibet was another landmark event in the history of the nation. He brought the various Buddhist schools that had developed in western Bhutan under his domain and unified the country as one whole nation giving it a distinct national identity.
The Buddhism practiced in the country today is a vibrant religion. It is present in the Dzongs, monasteries, stupas, prayer flags, and prayer wheels which punctuate the Bhutanese landscape. The chime of ritual bells, sound of gongs, people circumambulating temples and stupas, fluttering prayer flags, red robed monks conducting rituals stand as testaments to the importance of Buddhism in Bhutanese life.
Bhutanese society is free of class or caste system. Slavery was abolished by the Third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck in the early 1950s through a royal edict. Though, a few organizations to empower women were established in the past Bhutanese society has always maintained relative gender equality. In general our nation is an open and a good-spirited society.
Living in Bhutanese society generally means understanding some accepted norms such as Driglam Namzha, the traditional code of etiquette. Driglam Namzha teaches people a code of conduct to adhere to as members of a respectful society. Examples of Driglam Namzha include wearing a traditional scarf (kabney) when visiting a Dzong or an office, letting the elders and the monks serve themselves first during meals, offering felicitation scarves during ceremonies such as marriages and promotions.
Seniors and elders are politely greeted. The Bhutanese bow their head a bit while greeting. Recently, shaking hands has become an accepted norm.
The Bhutanese are a fun-loving people fond of song and dance. We are a social people that enjoy weddings, religious holidays and other events.