Our Nature lies in movement; complete calm is death.
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Bhutan

Background

Bhutan

In 1865, Britain and Bhutan signed the Treaty of Sinchulu, under which Bhutan would receive an annual subsidy in exchange for ceding some border land to British India. Under British influence, a monarchy was set up in 1907; three years later, a treaty was signed whereby the British agreed not to interfere in Bhutanese internal affairs and Bhutan allowed Britain to direct its foreign affairs. This role was assumed by independent India after 1947. Two years later, a formal Indo-Bhutanese accord returned the areas of Bhutan annexed by the British, formalized the annual subsidies the country received, and defined India's responsibilities in defense and foreign relations. A refugee issue of over 100,000 Bhutanese in Nepal remains unresolved; 90% of the refugees are housed in seven United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) camps. In March 2005, King Jigme Singye WANGCHUCK unveiled the government's draft constitution - which would introduce major democratic reforms - and pledged to hold a national referendum for its approval. In December 2006, the King abdicated the throne to his son, Jigme Khesar Namgyel WANGCHUCK, in order to give him experience as head of state before the democratic transition. In early 2007, India and Bhutan renegotiated their treaty to allow Bhutan greater autonomy in conducting its foreign policy, although Thimphu continues to coordinate policy decisions in this area with New Delhi. In July 2007, seven ministers of Bhutan's ten-member cabinet resigned to join the political process, and the cabinet acted as a caretaker regime until democratic elections for seats to the country's first parliament were completed in March 2008. The king ratified the country's first constitution in July 2008.

About

Bhutan is a small country in the Himalayas between the Tibet Autonomous Region of China and India.

Besides the stunning natural scenery, the enduring image of the country for most visitors is the strong sense of culture and tradition that binds the kingdom and clearly distinguishes it from its larger neighbors. Bhutan is the only Vajrayana Buddhist nation in the world, and 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."

Read more about Bhutan in our Bhutan travel guide »

Featured journals from

Bhutan

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Featured hotels in

Bhutan

BhutanTaj Tashi 

Samten Lam Chubachu Po Box 52
Thimphu
Bhutan

Price (US$): $400 - $800 / night

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Location. Taj Tashi is located in central Thimphu, close to Textile Museum, Changlimithang Stadium, and Clock Tower Square. Nearby points of interest also include Coronation Park and Changangkha Lhakhang. Hotel Features. Taj Tashi features a restaurant and a bar/lounge. Room service is available 24 hours a day. This 5 star property has a business center and offers audiovisual equipment. Additional property amenities include a concierge desk, self parking, and an elevator (lift). Guestrooms.… more »

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Bhutan

Full name
Kingdom of Bhutan
Capital
Thimphu
Location

Southern Asia, between China and India

Geographic coordinates

27 30 N, 90 30 E

Area comparative

about one-half the size of Indiana

Border countries

China 470 km, India 605 km

Coastline

0 km (landlocked)

Climate

varies; tropical in southern plains; cool winters and hot summers in central valleys; severe winters and cool summers in Himalayas

Terrain

mostly mountainous with some fertile valleys and savanna

Lowest point

Drangeme Chhu 97 m

Highest point

Gangkar Puensum 7,570 m

Natural resources

timber, hydropower, gypsum, calcium carbonate

Population

699,847

Ethnic groups

Bhote 50%, ethnic Nepalese 35% (includes Lhotsampas - one of several Nepalese ethnic groups), indigenous or migrant tribes 15%

Religions

Lamaistic Buddhist 75%, Indian- and Nepalese-influenced Hinduism 25%

Languages

Dzongkha (official), Bhotes speak various Tibetan dialects, Nepalese speak various Nepalese dialects

Government type

constitutional monarchy

Independence

1907 (became a unified kingdom under its first hereditary king)

National holiday

National Day (Ugyen WANGCHUCK became first hereditary king), 17 December (1907)

Chief of state

King Jigme Khesar Namgyel WANGCHUCK (since 14 December 2006); note - King Jigme Singye WANGCHUCK abdicated the throne on 14 December 2006 and his son immediately succeeded him; the nearly two-year delay between the former King's abdication and his son's coronation on 6 November 2008 was to ensure an astrologically auspicious coronation date and to give the new king, who had limited experience, deeper administrative expertise under the guidance of this father

Head of government

Prime Minister Jigme THINLEY (since 9 April 2008)

Internet country code

.bt

Internet users

50,000 (2009)

Airports

2 (2010)

Other countries in the region