In the land of dzongs and thunder dragons – the Kingdom of Bhutan in South Asia
According to countryaah, the independent kingdom of Bhutan is a small landlocked country in South Asia. It borders China (Tibet) in the north and India in the south.
With an area of just over 38,000 km², Bhutan is about the size of Switzerland.
In the official language Dzongkha, the country is called “Druk Yul” (spoken: “Dru Ü”) and means “Land of the Thunder Dragon”. The kite is home to the magnificent landscapes of the rugged Himalayas. Over 80 percent of Bhutan is at an altitude of more than 2,000 meters.
The national language is the “Dzongkha”, which translates to “The language spoken in the Dzongs”. Dzongs are the powerful Buddhist monastery castles that can be found across the country. The origin of the Dzongkha lies in the west of the country. Bhutan speaks over 18 dialects.
Kingdom of Bhutan facts and figures
Bhutan is a constitutional monarchy and at the same time a parliamentary democracy. King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck is the head of state; Prime Minister is Jigme Yoezer Thinley. The seat of government is in the capital, Thimphu. The government bodies are divided into legislative, judicial and executive.
The Federal Republic of Germany and the Kingdom of Bhutan have no diplomatic relations. The German Embassy in India’s capital New Delhi is responsible for official contacts between the two countries.
Bhutan has around 720,000 inhabitants. This corresponds to a population density of 17.82 inhabitants per km².
The country’s economy is dominated by agriculture, forestry and tourism, which makes a significant contribution to the income of Bhutan’s gross national product. GDP per capita is around $ 2,000 annually.
The capital, Thimphu, has around 80,000 inhabitants and is located in the west of the country at an altitude of just under 2,400 meters.
Tourism and environmental protection in Bhutan
Tourism in Bhutan is regulated by the state: Only a fixed number of tourists are allowed to enter Bhutan, and only as part of organized visits through official tour operators. This regulation is intended to protect the country’s culture and ecological wealth. Environmental protection is firmly anchored in Bhutan’s constitution. The country has large natural resources and a low population density. Two thirds of Bhutan are forest. Protected national parks and animal reserves make up 26 percent of the country’s area. The German Max Planck Society runs a research project on ornithology (ornithology) together with Bhutan.
Bhutan and Buddhism
The state religion in Bhutan is Buddhism. About 75 percent of the Bhutanese belong to the direction of Mahayana Buddhism. Buddhist belief plays a central role in daily life: The country is shaped by the monastery castles, the “Dzongs”, in which many Buddhist festivals are celebrated. The Bhutanese pronounce mantras and write them on prayer wheels that are mounted on water wheels.
The beauty of untouched nature, the majestic backdrop of the Himalayas and its rich flora and fauna have always been inspiration for Bhutan’s Buddhist culture. The history of Buddhism in Bhutan dates back to the eighth century when the Indian tantra master and guru Padmasambhava brought religion to the country.
Travel destination Bhutan – an insider tip
A visit to Bhutan is like traveling back in time to another era. Impressive, almost like a fairytale world, the traveler experiences the beauty of the country, the friendliness of its inhabitants, the pure air and the wonderful architecture. The majestic Himalayas are particularly impressive, with their breathtaking scenery, falling waterfalls and snow-covered, high peaks. The small kingdom in distant Asia has long become an insider tip among travel insiders. Foreign guests are accommodated in state-recognized hotels and pensions with different quality standards.
Political and economic relations between Germany and Bhutan
There have been many cooperation projects between Bhutan and Germany since 1978, especially in development cooperation. In 1983, a delegation from the German Bundestag traveled to the Himalayan kingdom for the first time. In November 2000, the then Federal President Richard von Weizsäcker visited Bhutan.
The independent kingdom supports Germany’s application for a temporary seat on the United Nations Security Council in New York. The common economic relations are only small. Germany exported goods worth EUR 6.6 million to Bhutan in 2011, including machinery, factories and electronic products. The Federal Republic is also involved in the field of police work and, together with the Bhutanese authorities, has set up a service dog squad to detect explosives and drugs.
Bhutan in three days – the most important sights
Bhutan is served by the national airline Druk Air. When approaching the country, the visitor is greeted by the green expanses and white peaks of the Himalayas.
The journey from the airport to the capital Thimphu leads through the fascinating Paro Valley. There is already a lot to see here, for example the ancient ruined castle Drukgyel Dzon, in which Bhutanese warriors once fought against intruders from Tibet.
One of the main attractions of Bhutan is the Taktsang Monastery, in German “Nest of the Tiger”. It stands on a cliff 900 meters high.
The watchtower Ta Dzong and the new National Museum are also worth seeing. Here you can admire many ancient objects of daily use and art. In the many small shops you can find beautiful souvenirs such as textiles, paintings, wood carvings, ceramics and jewelry. The public library “Trongsa Penlop Library” in the Thimphu Valley was equipped a few years ago with an extensive book donation from the German Embassy in New Delhi.