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History of Bhutan

Bhutan is becoming increasingly known for its pure practice of Mahayana Buddhism in the Tantric form, its untouched culture, its pristine ecology and wildlife, and the unparalleled scenic beauty of its majestic peaks and lush valleys. It is still, in many ways, a magical kingdom of the past.

It is a matter of great pride to the Bhutanese that their small kingdom was never colonized. Its ancient history, which is a mixture of the oral tradition and classical literature, tells of a largely self-sufficient population which had limited contact with the outside world until the turn of the century.

In the eight century Guru Rimpoche (Padmasambhava), established several sacred religious sites which are important places of pilgrimage in the Buddhist world today. Over the years, many other saints and religious figures helped shape Bhutan’s history and develop its religion.

Perhaps the most dynamic era in Bhutanese history came in the 17th century with the arrival, in 1616, of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the great leader of the Drukpa school of Mahayana Buddhism. He unified the country and established the foundations for national governance and the Bhutanese identity. This system took Bhutan at the turn of the 19th century, until the birth of the Wangchuck dynasty and establishment of hereditary Monarchy. In 1907, a historic Assembly of the clergy, the official administration, and the people unanimously elected Gongsar Ugen Wangchuck as the first hereditary King of Bhutan.

The land of the thunder dragon kingdom is a trekker’s paradise and an environmentalist’s dream. With 60 percent of the country under forest cover, Bhutan’s pristine ecology is home to rare and endangered flora and fauna. This spiritual land is the last bastion of the Vajrayana school of Mahayana Buddhism, which provides the essence of a unique identity for the 750,000 people.

Bhutan is a unique blend of the old and new. Here is a country that is slowly opening up to the modern world in a fine balance with its ancient traditions. Those fortunate enough to visit Bhutan describe it as a unique, deeply spiritual and mystical experience. This kingdom is an adventure like no other.

65% of Bhutanese live on farms, in remote hamlets, amidst sylvan settings. The fast life that is both the badge and bane of modern living is alien to the season-paced lifestyle of these agrarian folk. The national dress is a distinctive one, finely woven from multicolored, vibrant-hued wool, cotton or silk. The male attire is called a “Gho” and the female, the “Kira”. Jewellery is primarily coral, turquoise, pearls and agate set in exquisitely crafted gold and silver

The cuisine of the country is robust with lots of meat, cereals and vegetables, liberally spiced with chillies. Salted butter tea, called “Suja”, which may sit strangely on occidental tongues, is customarily and frequently served along with puffed or pounded rice and maize. Potent rice, wheat and barley wines are brewed locally. Bhutanese food is generally good. Set meals for travelers tend to be on the bland side, because local food is heavily seasoned with red chilies and can be quite hot. Most hotels provide meals buffet-style.

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INCLUDED
  • Bhutan VISA fee
  • Sustainable development fee & taxes
  • Dedicated English speaking tour guide
  • Dedicated tour vehicle and driver
  • 3-star accommodation (twin sharing)
  • Daily 3 meals (B/L/D)
  • Airport transfers
  • Bottled water
  • Entry fees to parks and monuments
    NOT INCLUDED
    • Flights to and from Bhutan
    • Personal expense/shopping
    • Beverages (soda/juice/alcohol)
    • 4 or 5-star accommodation (extra charges will apply)
    • Travel insurance
    • Tips for guide and driver