Bhutan , officially the Kingdom of Bhutan, is a landlocked country in the eastern end of Himalayas, between the Tibet Autonomous Region of China and India. Bhutan’s landscape ranges from heavily forested foothills and subtropical plains in the south and a rugged and mountainous landscape with snow-capped peaks and glacier covered terrain in the north, where some peaks exceed 7,000.
Besides the stunning natural scenery, Bhutan is known for her strong sense of culture and tradition that binds the kingdom. Perched high in the Himalayas, it is the world’s last remaining Buddhist Kingdom and the only Vajrayana Buddhist nation in the world. The profound teachings of this tradition remain well preserved and exert a strong influence in all aspects of life. Due to its pristine environment and harmonious society, the tiny Kingdom of Bhutan has been called “The Last Shangrila.”
It has developed the philosophy of Gross National Happiness, where development is measured using a holistic approach of well-being, not just based on gross domestic product. The Government of Bhutan provides free education and, though rudimentary, free medical care to its citizen. The sale of tobacco products is banned and smoking in public areas is a fineable offense.
In 2008, Bhutan made the transition from absolute monarchy to constitutional monarchy and held its first general election.
Major sources of income are tourism, hydroelectric power and agriculture.
Bhutan has long maintained a policy of strict isolationism and only a limited number of tourists are allowed each year.
Bhutan at a glance:
Area: 38,394 km2
Currencies: Bhutanese ngultrum, Indian rupee
Official language: Dzongkha Language
Government: Unitary state, Constitutional monarchy, Parliamentary system