15 Interesting facts about Bhutan you didn’t know.
Tourism in Bhutan began in 1974 coinciding with the coronation of the 4th King of Bhutan, His Majesty Jigme Singye Wanchuck – with the arrival of 287 tourist in the same year. Bhutan tourism corporation, a tourism regulatory body was formed in the same year.
As most citizens don’t know their date of birth, the government listed them as born on New Year’s Day in their identity cards. As such, all citizens officially become one year older on New Year’s Eve.
At 24,840 feet, Gangkhar Puensum is the highest point in Bhutan—and the highest unclimbed mountain in the world.
Plastic bags are banned in Bhutan.
Bhutan is the only country in the world where there is a festival to welcome migrating birds.
Animal slaughter is banned in Bhutan.
The University of Texas at El Paso, USA, has been built in traditional Bhutanese architectural style.
In Bhutan, inheritance is generally passed on to the daughter rather than the son. And so, after marriage, a man often moves into the home of his new wife.
Television and Internet came to Bhutan only in 1999.
Bhutan is the only country in the world that has no traffic lights.
Chili is the main dish in Bhutan. All other dishes merely take up space along the edge of the plate.
Bhutan is the first country in the world to ban tobacco.
Bhutan is the only country in the world that is carbon negative – meaning that it absorbs more carbon dioxide than it emits.
Bhutan got its first paved road only in 1962.
The Bhutanese believe that phalluses help ward off evil. Hence it is common to find phallus drawings in most houses.
Bhutanese Folk Dance
Folk dances of Bhutan are traditional dances of Bhutan with unique form and style which defines the rich culture of Bhutan that has been performed since ancestral paradise and passed on to generations.
Bhutan Folk dances originated during the early period of Buddhist saints and Zhungdra is one of the oldest folk dances of that period. In early years Folk dances were performed in the court yard of Palace and also inside the Dzongs to entertain Royals and the Guests. Now they perform during festivals (Tshechu) and special Occasions to entertain Special guests.
Cham (mask dance) is also one of the traditional dances, which is originated during 8th century by Buddhist saints and later developed and performed during Tshechu of different regions during different months of Bhutan according to Bhutanese calendar.
Bhutanese Folk dances are performed as a welcome dance in the beginning of Special events and Occasion.
Bhutan’s traditional dance has become a daily life activity of Bhutanese passed on to generations. It is the natural ability of all the Bhutanese to perform local folk dance during local village festivals and marriage ceremonies. Now it has become Tourist attraction which is performed to entertain tourists on demand by special group of people organized by RAPA (Royal Academy of Performing Arts).
Bhutan host to over 11,000 species of biodiversity
Bhutan is a host to more than 11,000 species of biodiversity as per the Biodiversity statistics of Bhutan released yesterday. The figure accounts for 0.8 per cent of the total biodiversity recorded for the world. There are 1.4 million species of biodiversity listed in the world to date.
Plant and animal species account for more than 93 per cent of the 11,000 plus species. The country recorded 5,114 species of animals and 5,369 for species of plants. Although not so significant, there are also a number of species of fungi, bacteria, chromista and protista in the country.
Bhutan hosts 13 vulnerable, 11 endangered and two critically endangered mammal species. Likewise, the country has 22 vulnerable, four endangered and four critically endangered bird species. There are also eight vulnerable and three endangered fish species, 11 vulnerable, five endangered and two critically endangered amphibians, and one vulnerable butterfly.
In Happy Bhutan, The PM is a Doctor on Saturdays
Despite recently taking office as the new prime minister of Bhutan, 51-year-old Lotay Tshering, president of Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (the Bhutan United Party), has found a measure of social media fame as he still finds time to put his medical training to good use, attending surgery and seeing patients on Saturday mornings and undertaking academic rounds with trainee medical staff and new doctors every Thursday morning.
Tshering, a trained urologist, was sworn in as prime minister of the Himalayan kingdom in November last year, but his reluctance to completely give up treating patients has seen pictures of him at Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH) in the capital Thimphu shared widely on social media to an enthusiastic reception among Bhutanese Facebook users.
“I won’t leave my practice for anything. All that I am today is because of that, even becoming a prime minister. Therefore, even today I see patients and conduct surgeries every Thursday and Saturday morning,” Tshering is quoted as saying on Facebook. “I was not born a doctor, but I will die as one.”
Born in 1968, Tshering graduated with an MBBS degree from Mymensingh Medical College under Dhaka University in Bangladesh in 2001. He studied urology at the Medical College of Wisconsin in 2007, becoming the only practicing trained urologist in Bhutan. Tshering obtained a fellowship in endourology at Singapore General Hospital, and Okayama University, Japan and in 2014 he received an MBA from the University of Canberra, Australia.
Thank you, thank you. I may tell you, my birthday always takes me by surprise, every time, every year. You know I don’t know my birthday.
My mother didn’t record my birthday. I don’t blame her. I suppose she was in a great deal of pain. My father, I guess, was too excited. I don’t blame him either. I was born, around this time of the year, coinciding with the paddy transplantation season, which starts with the onset of the monsoon. I cooked up my date of birth for my school records.
Photo Courtesy: Insider-journeys
Apparently, I am not the only guy who doesn’t know his birthday. A delegation of Bhutanese folk singers was traveling to Germany for an international festival. At an airport, they lined up, at the immigration counter, in their finest silk Gho and Kira, not to mention the colorful tsholham. The immigration official on duty, a lanky fellow sporting a beard and wearing a turban, examined the passport of the delegation leader. He absentmindedly noted that the portly, balding Bhutanese gentleman was born on 1st January. He peered at the photo on the passport and studied the face of the gentleman standing ramrod straight in front of him, looked back at the passport, casually examined it again, stamped it and sent him through. The next guy in line, another man, with a fast receding hairline and an ever expanding waistline, promptly approached the counter. The immigration official noted he was born on 1st January too. He was bemused but he sent the man through too after carefully examining his passport and stamping it with a thud.
The next delegation member jumped in line. The immigration official saw he was born on 1st January too. By now he was bewildered. He thought to himself, how on earth could all the guys on the same delegation, traveling on the same flight, to the same festival be born on 1st January. Nonetheless, he examined the passport. There was nothing wrong and he was also sent through. The fourth delegation member stood in from of him. She was also born on 1st January. By now, the immigration official thought, something was amiss. He called his supervisor, another lanky fellow with a beard and a turban. They whispered to each other for what seemed like a long time and together they rounded up the entire delegation. They made some calls. They were joined by a few officials. They spoke to each other and politely asked the delegation members to wait in a cordoned off area. The time to board the plane to Germany was fast approaching.
Apparently it was not the first time they were held up at an international airport. The delegation leader whipped out his smart phone and made a call. Before long, a Bhutanese official, neatly dressed in a spotless white shirt and black pants, appeared on the scene. He spoke to the immigration guys briefly. They all laughed good humorously. The immigration officials, still laughing, apologized to the waiting Bhutanese delegation and waved them through.
It is not just the delegation members who were born on 1st January. My father was born on 1st January. So was my mother. So were my uncles and aunts. And they are not alone. Almost everybody in my village was born on 1st January. They were most likely recorded as having born on 1st January by some imaginative immigration official when he visited the village to carry out the census registration.
And I bet, that would be the case in every village. Not many people recorded the date of birth in the past and not many people celebrated birthdays. So there you go. A very happy birthday indeed.
Article Courtesy: Kaka Tshering
School among Glaciers
A school teacher is assigned to Bhutan’s remotest school. Midway into his session he is told that the school has to be closed as the inhabitants leave the valley to escape the winter. One of the best documentaries from Bhutan and the first one to win several international awards in Japan, South Korea, Netherlands and Switzerland, School Among Glaciers is truly a masterpiece.
Courtesy: Bhutan Documentaries
Man who Bagpipes around the World makes Bhutan the 82nd Country he has played at
In his quest to be the first to bagpipe across the globe, Ross OC Jennings was in Bhutan, the 82nd country he has travelled to since 2014.
During his bagpiping journey, he plays his folk music in his kilt, knee-high socks and a white shirt. “These shoes have travelled to 40 countries. This is the second pair of shoes,” he said showing his worn out pair.
In Bhutan, Ross, 28, has performed for the students of Bayta Primary School in Phobjikha, Wangdue and for HRH Princess Kesang Choden Wangchuck in Thimphu. “I wanted to perform at the Tiger’s nest but it would be disrespectful, so I did not perform there,” he said.
His bagpiping adventure began in 2014 when attending a travel expo in London.
No sooner had he quit his job at a technology start- up, and kicked-off his kilted adventure in Tunisia, he was frisked by the Tunisian police. That was in May 2014.
With little knowledge in French, Arabic, and Tunisian—the languages spoken in Tunisia, he said he could barely understand that he was in a problem.
Courtesy: Kuensel Online
Lyonpo TT’s Ted Talk
The Hindu Kush Himalaya region is the world’s third-largest repository of ice, after the North and South Poles — and if current melting rates continue, two-thirds of its glaciers could be gone by the end of this century. What will happen if we let them melt away? Environmentalist and former Prime Minister of Bhutan Tshering Tobgay shares the latest from the “water towers of Asia,” making an urgent call to create an intergovernmental agency to protect the glaciers — and save the nearly two billion people downstream from catastrophic flooding that would destroy land and livelihoods.