Druk Yarnga Travel is a tour operator promoted by a group of highly trained and educated person with many years of experience tourism. Our team is specialised in organising treks, mountaineering expedition, leisure tours, culture and heritage tour, wildlife tour, river rafting etc across Bhutan. All our itineraries are meticulously designed based on the localRead More >>
Gross National HappinessGross National Happiness
Fourth and Fith kings of BhutanBhutan’s former King Jigme Singye Wangchuck (right side in the photo), who has opened Bhutan to the age of modernization, soon after the demise of his father, King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk was the brainchild of the term “Gross National Happiness”. Gross National Happiness measures quality of life by trying to strike a balance between the material and the spiritual.
The Four Pillars of GNH:
Equitable and equal socio-economic development,
Preservation and promotion of cultural and spiritual heritage,
Conservation of environment and
Good governance which are interwoven, complementary, and consistent.
They embody national and local values, aesthetics, and spiritual traditions. As a result, we can see that the concept of Gross National Happiness is now being taken up by various other countries, following footsteps of Bhutan.Further, the concept of Gross National Happiness has greatly enabled her in the pursuit of development, at the same time promoting happiness as the core philosophy of life. Now the philosophy, Gross National Happiness is broadly discussed in each and every time of the world.
Nature and ClimateNature and climate of Bhutan
Southern Bhutan has a hot, humid sub-tropical climate that is fairly unchanging throughout the year. The 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.
Weather in Bhutan depends upon the altitude. In the northern parts of the country where mountains rise up to 7,000m, weather conditions are similar to arctic. Southwards, closer to India, the weather is hot and humid in the summer and cool in winter. The monsoon rains are usually heavy. Winters can be a good time to visit the lower parts, but then the highest areas are freezing. The best times to visit Bhutan are spring (March-May) and autumn (late September – November) when the weather is warm, dry and sunny but always throw in a couple of warm clothes into your travelling gear when you travel to Bhutan regardless of the season
Bhutan has four seasons:
Spring(March, April and May),
Summer(June, July and August),
Autumn(September, October and November) and
Winter(December, January and February).
Depending on the altitude, the climate varies from semi-tropical to alpine (For every 1,000 m height increase the temperature drops about 7 degree Celsius).
In Southern Bhutan, the climate is tropical in the monsoon season and may range from 15 degree Celsius in winter to 30 degree Celsius in summer.
The east is also warmer than the west.
The centre enjoys sub-tropical climate with very cool winters while the northern parts of the country have harsh climate including snowfall two to three times every winter.
In Thimphu, the capital city, the temperature ranges from -2.5°C in January to 25°C in summer with a rainfall of 100mm. In the high mountain regions the average temperature varies from 0°C in winter to 10°C in summer, with an average of 350 mm of rain.
People and Culture of BhutanPeople of bhutan
Despite its size, the country is an interesting mosaic of various ethnicities without having an indigenous group. It is a nation of immigrants and a multi-religious, multi-cultural and multi-linguistic society.
There are three main ethnic groups: the dominant political group the Ngalops in the west, the Sharchops in the east and the southern Bhutanese of Nepali origin (also known as Lhotshampas) in the south. Largely Brokpas and Bjops inhabit northern regions of Bhutan.
Bhutan’s population is, in many ways, one large family. More than 90 percent of the people live on subsistence farming, scattered in sparsely populated villages across the rugged terrain of the Himalayas. With rice as the staple diet in the lower regions, and wheat, buckwheat, and maize in the other valleys, the people farm narrow terraces cut into the steep hill slopes. Bhutanese communities settled in the valleys with limited communication in the past. It is for this reason that the sense of individuality and independence emerges as a strong characteristic of the people.
The Bhutanese society is free of class or caste system and any inhibition that is detrimental for a society to progress. Slavery was abolished by the Third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck in the early 1950s through a royal edict. Though, few organizations to empower women have been established a few years back, in general the Bhutanese have always been gender sensitive. In general ours is an open and a good-spirited society.
Living in a Bhutanese society generally means understanding some basic norms like Driglam Namzha, the traditional etiquette. This is a norm that desires members of the society to conduct themselves in public places. Wearing a scarf when visiting a Dzong or an office, letting the elders and the monks serve themselves first, offering felicitation scarves during ceremonies such as marriages and promotions, greeting elders or senior officials are some simple manners that harmonizes and binds together the Bhutanese society.
Bhutan is a Buddhist country and people refer to it as the last stronghold of Vajrayana Buddhism. Buddhism was first introduced by the Indian Tantric master Guru Padmasambhava in the 8th century. Till then people by and large worshipped all forms of nature, remnants of which are still evident even today in some remote villages in the country.
A Brief History of Bhutan
The recorded history dates as far back as the 6th century A.D., while the real historical period started with the introduction of Buddhism from 7th century A.D. Since then, Buddhism has largely shaped the history of Bhutan and the way of life of its people. But it was not until the visit of Guru Rimpochey (also known as Padma Sambhava) in 747 A.D., that Buddhism took firm root in the country. It is believed that Guru Rimpochey came flying on the back of a tiger and landed in Taktsang, Paro, where the Taktsang monastery, one of the most revered sacred sites and the most distinguished religious and historical icon of Bhutan, stands today. The Kurjey Lhakhang in Bumthang is another important revered site of pilgrimage where Guru Rimpochey had meditated, subdued the evil spirits and left the imprint of his body on a rock.
Tertoen Pema Lingpa In the 13th century the spiritual master, Phajo Drugom Zhingpo arrived. He was the precursor of the Drukpa Kagyu tradition of Mahayana Buddhism which ultimately gained pre-eminence in the country. Many saints and religious figures, over the years, helped shape Bhutan’s history and develop its religion of which the Tertons (Treasure discoverers) played an important role who were pre-destined to unearth the ters (relics) hidden for posterity by Guru Rimpoche and other saints. Among the Tertons, Pema Lingpa, born in the Tang valley of Bumthang (central Bhutan), occupies the most important place in the Bhutanese history. His discovery of ters from a lake called Mebartsho (The Burning Lake) in Bumthang is the most famous event. He not only discovered religious texts and arte-facts but also composed dances and created arts which have become one of the most important constituents of the cultural heritage of Bhutan. Mebartsho is also a most visited and famous sites in Bhutan today.
Zhabdrung Rinpoche With the arrival of Shabdrung Rimpochey (the precious jewel at whose feet one submits) opened the most dynamic era in the history of Bhutan. The religious and secular powers were not clearly delineated until the 17 Century when Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the great leader of the Drukpa school of Mahayana Buddhism, established the dual system of government–the temporal and theocratic–with Je Khenpo (chief abbot) as the religious head and the temporal leader known as the Desi. He was not only a great spiritual personality and a statesman but also left his indelible legacy as a great architect and a builder. The Shabdrung constructed numerous Dzongs, monasteries, and religious institutions bringing people from all walks of life under one faith and firmly instituted Drukpa Kagyu as the state religion.The first Dzong that he built, Simtokha Dzong in 1627, stands majestically as one of the sentinels of the Bhutanese identity, a few miles away from present day Thimphu.
First king of Bhutan, Ugyen Wangchuck The Shabdrung’s dual system of government, ruled by 54 Desis and 60 Je Khenpos, steered Bhutan from 1651 until the birth of the Wangchuck dynasty and establishment of hereditary Monarchy in 1907. The earliest notable relics visible of the history of Bhutan, today, are the two monasteries, the Kyichu Lhakhang in Paro and Jambay Lhakhang in Bumthang which were built in the 7th Century A.D. Little is known about Bhutan of that period. At the end of 19th century, the Trongsa Penlop, Ugyen Wangchuck, who then controlled the central and eastern regions, overcame all his rivals and united the nation once again. He was unanimously accepted as the first hereditary monarch of Bhutan in 1907. Thus the first king was crowned and the Wangchuck dynasty began. Over the following four decades, he and his heir, King Jigme Wangchuck, brought the entire country under the monarchy’s direct control. Upon independence in 1947, India recognized Bhutan as a sovereign country.
The Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan offers Western and Asian tourist a unique and well preserved culture and heritage of this beautiful country. A majority of the Bhutanese people are of Tibetan origin and follow a sect of Tibetan Buddhism. One of the least densely populated countrries in Aisa, Bhutan offers a charming culture and hospitableLearn More
Festivals is religious events. The ground where they are held is purified and consecrated by lamas, so when you are watching a festival you are, in essence, on the perimeter of an outdoor religious ground. The conduct of the onlooker should be governed with this in mind. The dancers whether monks or layman, are inLearn More
Trekking in Bhutan is enduring, timeless and true wilderness experience. Once you step off the road to start the trek, you are in true wilderness much of the time. Although there are established trails, there are no planes flying overhead, no roads and very few villages; instead there are views of snowcapped peaks and forestedLearn More
Placed strategically at the junction of the Pho Chu and Mo Chu rivers, the dzong was built in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to serve as the religious and administrative center of the region. Damaged over the centuries by four catastrophic fires and an earthquake, the dzong has been fully restored in recent years by
“Tiger’s Nest” monastery, most famous of Bhutan’s monasteries, is spectacularly located on the side of a cliff 900m above the valley floor. It is said that in the 8th century Guru Rinpoche flew on the back of a tigress from eastern Bhutan to this place and meditated in a cave here for 3 months, hence
The building of this chorten was originally the idea of Bhutan’s third king, H.M. Jigme Dorji Wangchuck (“the father of modern Bhutan”), who had wished to erect a monument to world peace and prosperity, but was unable to give shape to his idea in his lifetime due to pressures of state. After His Majesty’s untimely