Kingdom Bhutan popularly known as Druk Yul or the Land of Thunder Dragon is now a rising spot for tourist all over the world. Its popularity continues to rise for her rich culture, traditions, natural beauty, warm hospitality people and a large number of endangered species of the planet which can be seen in the country.
Hidden within the folds of Himalayas mountain, sandwiched between India and China lies the smallest country like the pearl in the ocean, calm and peaceful, the freshness of serene naturally healing mind, body and speech. The profoundness of solitary kept the land isolated and protected the richness of culture that grew even more unique and gracious. A piece of heaven is the land of thunder dragon, with the influence of Buddhism in daily life makes no difference to what is called heaven.
The country was originally known by many names and it came to be known as Druk Yul or The Land of the Drukpas sometime in the 17th century. Buddhism was introduced in the 7th century by the arrival of Guru Rimpoche, a Buddhist Master that is widely considered to be the Second Buddha.
The country was first unified in the 17th century by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. After arriving in Bhutan from Tibet he established a comprehensive system of law and governance. His system of rule eroded after his death and the country fell into infighting and civil war between the various local rulers. This continued until the Trongsa Poenlop Ugyen Wangchuck was able to gain control and with the support of the people establish himself as Bhutan’s first hereditary King in 1907. His Majesty Ugyen Wangchuck became the first Druk Gyalpo (Dragon King) and set up the Wangchuck Dynasty that still rules today and hence known as Kingdom Bhutan.
In 2008 Bhutan enacted its Constitution and converted to a democracy in order to better safeguard the rights of its citizens. Later in November of the same year, the currently reigning 5th Druk Gyalpo Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck was crowned. Bhutan is one of the smallest countries in the world, Bhutanese population number just over 600,000.
The Bhutanese Form of Government.
Till very recently, the form of Government was Monarchy, Monarchy had evolved in the beginning of the 20th century in 1907 with the enthronement of the first hereditary monarch King Gongsar Ugyen Wangchuk. The institution of monarchy was a break from the oldest or the earlier form of government that had existed. This earlier form was known as the dual system of government with two rulers at the head of the government- a temporal and a spiritual leader. It was introduced by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in the mid-17th century.
With the enthronement of the first monarch in 1907, Bhutan began to enjoy greater peace and prosperity in the kingdom. Above all, there was unity and political stability. With a view to enhancing the role of the government as well as that of the people in 1953, the Tshogdu or the national assembly was constituted. The establishment of Tshogdu was the beginning of a parliamentary system of Government. Bhutan now had representatives of the people, the clergy, and the government. The establishment of the Tshogdu with the representative brought about a wholesome contribution towards the discussion of the issues and any other important agenda.
Parliamentary democracy was further made possible by the constitution of the Council of Ministry in 1998. A system of Government now evolved whereby a Prime Minister was appointed for a term of one year from among the elected council of the member. In 2004 with the drafting of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Bhutan by a Royal Decree, it was evident that Bhutan was embarking on the path towards a full parliamentary democracy or formerly became a Democratic Constitutional Monarchy with the King as the Head of the state and the head of government being elected member. Under this, all citizen are guaranteed the fundamental rights and recognized the world over, especially in the democratic history have the people been as fortunate as the Bhutanese in being granted their democratic rights by the fourth Kings His Majesty Jigme Singey Wangchuk.
Constitution of Bhutan
The constitution of Bhutan is one of the greatest gifts bestowed by a monarch on its people. Nowhere in the entire history of nations have we come across a Monarch granting its people the right to rule by themselves. In other words, a change from a monarchical system of government with the monarch having an absolute rule to that of a democracy was always a hard fought battle. Histories in most other countries show that these changes were brought in through revolutions, wars, and civil-strife at the cost of the lives of thousands of people.
“Bhutan must move with the times to ensure that the nation not only overcomes all the internal and external threats but continues to prosper in an atmosphere of peace and stability” – His Majesty King Jigme Singye Wangchuk
Flora and Fauna
Situated amongst the world’s highest peaks, the kingdom of Bhutan is a landlocked country with an approximate area of 46,500 square kilometers. It’s unique locations along with altitudinal and climatic variations attribute to the tremendous diversity of flora and fauna. Within the physical and biological diversities, Bhutan with 64% forest cover has some of the best remaining representative samples of the unique Himalayan Ecosystem. It has a pristine environment, with high rugged mountains and deep valleys.
Recognizing the importance of the environment, the government has enacted a law that 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 and approximately 60% of the land area falls under protected areas comprising of 10 national parks and sanctuaries.
The vegetation varies enormously over the short distances, rending from tropical broadleaf forest to alpine shrubs and meadows. In addition, a prolific assortment of medicinal herbs dots the countryside as do over 40 species of rhododendron and numerous verities of oak. There forest provides habitats for a spectrum of faunal species such as tigers, elephants, greater one-horns rhinoceros, golden langur, blue sheep, musk deer, wolves, Leopards, Takins, Hispid hares, pygmy hogs, red pandas plus a wide range of birds like the black necked cranes, monal pheasants, lammergeiers (bearded vultures) and tragopans, many
Climate and Temperature
Although geographically quite small, Bhutan’s weather varies from north to south and valley to valley, mainly depending upon the elevation. In the North of Bhutan on the borders with Tibet, it is perennially covered with snow. In the western, central and eastern Bhutan (Ha, Paro, Thimphu, Wandue, Trongsa, Bumthang, Trashi Yangtse, Lhuntse) you will mostly experience European-like weather. Winter lasts here from November to March. Punakha is an exception as it is in a lower valley and summer is hot and winter is pleasant. Southern Bhutan bordering with India is hot and humid with a sub-tropical climate. While the monsoon affects northern Indian it does not command the same influence in Bhutan. Summer months tend to be wetter with isolated showers predominately in the evenings only. Winter is by far the driest period while spring and autumn tend to be pleasant.
There are four distinct seasons similar in their divisions to those of Western Europe. Temperatures in the far south range from 15°C in winter (December to February) to 30°C in summer (June to August). In Thimphu the range is from -2.5°C in January to 25°C in August and with a rainfall of 100mm. In the high mountain regions, the average temperature is 0°C in winter and may reach 10°C in summer, with an average of 350mm of rain. Precipitation varies significantly with the elevation. The average rainfall varies from region to region.