Bhutan


About Bhutan

Bhutan is a small Himalayan country lies between the two giant nations of the world- India to the south and China to the north.

History

The traditional name of the country (Bhutan) since the 17th century has been Drukgyel, Land of the Drukpa (Dragon People), and a reference to the dominant branch of Tibetan Buddhism that is still practiced in the Himalayan kingdom.

For centuries, Bhutan was made up of feuding regions until it was unified under the King Ugyen Wangchuck in 1907. The British exerted some control over Bhutan's affairs, but never colonized it. Until the 1960s, Bhutan was largely isolated from the rest of the world, and its people carried on a tranquil, traditional way of life, farming and trading, which had remained intact for centuries. New roads and other connections to India began to end its isolation. In the 1960s, Bhutan also undertook social modernization, abolishing slavery and the caste system, emancipating women, and enacting land reform. In 1985, Bhutan made its first diplomatic links with non-Asian countries.

In 1998, King Jigme Singye Wangchuk, who is Bhutan's fourth hereditary ruler, voluntarily curtailed his absolute monarchy, and in March 2005 released a draft constitution (not yet put to a referendum) that outlined plans for the country to shift to a two-party democracy. In Dec. 2006, he abdicated in favor of his son, and Crown Prince Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuk in became king.

Parliamentary elections, Bhutan's first national election, were held in March 2008, with turnout at about 80%. The pro-monarchy Druk Phuensum Tshogpa, translated as the Bhutan Peace and Prosperity Party, won 44 out of 47 seats in Parliament, trouncing the People’s Democratic Party. The election marked Bhutan's transition from an absolute monarchy to a democracy. In April, Lyonpo Jigme Thinley, of the Peace and Prosperity Party, became prime minister. A new constitution went into effect in July. Universal suffrage was implemented under the new constitution. Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wang chuck was crowned king in November. At age 28, he is the world's youngest monarch.

In 2013, the second parliamentary election was held. Unlike in first election, there were five political parties participating in the election. The parties were: Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT), People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Druk Nymrup Tshogpa (DNT), Druk Chirwang Tshogpa (DCT) and Bhutan Kingyum Party (BKP). In the first round of general election, the PDP and DPT won and went for final election. In the final election, PDP won the 32 seat out of 47 seats. Thereby, PDP is ruling party while DPT is opposition party in the parliament of Bhutan. Tshering Tobgay is the current and second Prime Minister of Bhutan.

Bhutan at a Glance

Total area

38,394 square kilometers (about 300km long and 150km wide)

Location:

Landlocked between China (Tibet) and India

Altitude:

100m above sea level in the South to over 7,500 m. above sea level in the North.

Population:

745,153 (2014): 387,520 male and 357,633 female.

Language: 

Dzongkha is now the national language. English is widely spoken in main towns and it is the medium of education. Local people are also familiar with Hindi and Nepali and Sharchops

Political System:

Democratic Constitutional Monarchy

State Religion:

Drukpa sect of Kargyupa, a branch of Mahayana Buddhism.

Capital:

Thimphu

Time:

6 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+6)

Altitude:

100 m above sea level in the south to over 7,500 m above sea level in the north

Longitude: 

26 45’ - 28 15’ North

Local time: 

6 hrs. ahead of GMT and half an hour ahead of Indian Standard Time

Country code:

975

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