BHUTAN AT A GLANCE
There are many versions as to how Bhutan got its name Bhutan. One theory suggests that the name evolved from ‘Bhotana’(end of Tibet) or from ‘Bhu-Uttan’ meaning ‘Highland’. some believe that the name is derived from the word ‘bhot-stan’( In ancient Indian language Sanskrit, ‘Bhotia’ means people orginally from Tibet). Whatever may be the case, Bhutanese proudly call their country as Druk Yul (Land of Thunder Dragon) and themselves as drukpas. Bhutan was once known by some other names as ‘Lho Jong’ (The Southern Region) and ‘Lho Jong Men Jong’ (The Southern region of Medicinal Herbs).
Bhutan is a small Himalayan country situated in-between china in the north and Indian states of west Bengal, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim in the south east and west respectively.
Though being a very small country in the world, Bhutan has its unique identity and Bhutan has been ruled by great monarchs over 100 years. The Wangchuk Dynasty came to power from 19:07 when the first Druk Gyalpo was crowned to the throne.
The first Druk Gyalpo Ugyen Wangchuk was in unifying Bhutan to restore peace and stability in the country. The second Druk Gyalpo Jigme Wangchuk brought many reforms in the country.
The third Druk Gyalpo Jigme Dorji Wangchuk is known as the father of modern Bhutan as he brought many changes. He was a farsighted monarch and Bhutan became a member of UNO and many other organizations during his reign. He opened many schools and hospitals in the country and brought many reforms.
The fourth Druk Gyalpo was crowned at the age of 17 after the demise of his father the third king. He is a monarch of the people and people worship and love him due to his untried service to the nation bringing many changes for the better life of the Bhutanese people. When the country was facing threat by the militants of India (Ulfa and Bodo) who has sneaked in the boarder of Bhutan where they camped and started to threat the peace and stability of the country, His majesty himself took up arms against these militants leading the force of the Bhutanese at a fore front risking his life and flushed all the militants out of Bhutan’s border. He is a monarch Bhutan would never have again and people worship him and love him very much.
To further develop his country he instituted constitutional democracy gifting people with every rights and he mainly focused on Gross National Happiness which today people over the world visit Bhutan admiring the concept of GNH. Year 2008 was a milestone in the history of Bhutan as the nation celebrates 100 years of monarchy, democratic constitution was instituted from absolute monarchy and also a new king is crowned; the fifth Druk Gyalpo king Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuk.
REGIONS AND CLIMATE
Bhutan is a small, landlocked country but, even within its limited latitude, it features a wide range of altitude. From the Greater Himalayan peaks that stretch to over 7,000 meters above sea level, the land drops dramatically to fertile valleys in the Lesser Himalayan central belt, and continues on to the foothills in the south a few hundred meters above sea level some times as low as 190-200 meters above sea level.
Except for a few nomadic settlements, few people live above the treeline. The bulk of the people populate the hills and valleys of the central region which is divided in a north-south direction by the Wang Chhu, Punatsang Chhu, Mangde Chhu and Kuri Chhu rivers. The southern foothills, which form the industrial belt, drop sharply away from the Himalayas into large tracts of semi-tropical forest and grassland. This belt and the central uplands are arable but most of these lands are either forested or inhabited. Only seven percent of Bhutan remains cultivated.
Bhutan’s marked range of altitude obviously allows a marked range in weather as well. The north is perennially covered with snow. Weather in the western, central and eastern Bhutan (Haa, Paro, Thimphu, Trongsa, Bumthang, Tashiyangtse, Lhuentse) has often been compared to cold European weather. Winter lasts here from November to March. Wangduephodrang and Punakha are exceptions as they are in lower valleys where summer is relatively hot but winter is mild. Atypical hot and humid subtropical conditions envelop southern Bhutan.
The four seasons in Bhutan have generally been compared to those of Western Europe in terms of conditions and timing. Most tourists visit Bhutan in spring (mid-March to Mid-June) and autumn (mid-September to mid-November) when less rain, mild temperatures and clear skies make sightseeing most pleasant.