Head of State : His Majesty King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck
Head of Govt : Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay
Land area : 38,394 square kilometers
Forest area : 72.5 %
Altitude : between 240metres and 7541metres above sea level
Inhabitants : 634,982
Language : Official language “Dzongkha”, English Sharshopa and Nepali
Religion : Vajrayana stream of Mahayana Buddhism
Currency : Ngultrum (equal to Indian Rupee)
Capital : Thimphu
The Buddhist Kingdom of Bhutan lies along the lofty ridges of the eastern Himalayas, bordered by China (Tibet) to the north and northwest, and by the Indian states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, West Bengal and Sikkim on the east, south and west respectively.
Bhutan is comparable to Switzerland both in its size and topography. The mighty Himalayas protected Bhutan from the rest of the world and left it blissfully untouched through the centuries. The Drukpa Kagyupa school of Mahayana Buddhism provided the essence of a rich culture and a fascinating history. The Bhutanese people protected this sacred heritage and unique identity for centuries by choosing to remain shrouded in a jealously guarded isolation.
The National Emblem of Bhutan is a circle that projects a double diamond thunderbolt placed above the lotus. There is a jewel on all sides with two dragons on vertical sides. The thunderbolts represent the harmony between secular and religious power while the lotus symbolizes purity. The jewel signifies the sovereign power while the dragons (male and female) stands for the name of the country Druk yul or the Land of the Dragon.
The National flag is rectangle in shape that is divided into two parts diagonally. The upper yellow half signifies the secular power and authority of the king while the lower saffron-orange symbolizes the practice of religion and power of Buddhism, manifested in the tradition of Drukpa Kagyu. The dragon signifies the name and the purity of the country while the jewels in its claws stand for the wealth and perfection of the country.
The national flower is Blue Poppy (Meconopsis Grandis). It is a delicate blue or purple tinged blossom with a white filament. It grows to a height of 1 meter, on the rocky mountain terrain found above the tree line of 3500-4500 meters. It was discovered in 1933 by a British Botanist, George Sherriff in a remote part of Sakteng in eastern Bhutan.
The national tree is cypress (Cupressus torolusa). Cypresses are found in abundance and one may notice big cypresses near temples and monasteries. Cypress is found in the temperate climate zone, between 1800 and 3500 meters. Its capacity to survive on rugged harsh terrain is compared to bravery and simplicity.
The national bird is the raven. It ornaments the royal crown. Raven represents the deity Gonpo Jarodongchen (raven headed Mahakala), one of the chief guardian deities of Bhutan.
The national animal is the Takin (burdorcas taxicolor) that is associated with religious history and mythology. It is a very rare mammal with a thick neck and short muscular legs. It lives in groups and is found in places above 4000 meters high on the north-western and far north eastern parts of the country. They feed on bamboos. The adult takin can weigh over 200 kgs.
The national anthem was first composed in 1953 and became official in 1966. It is known as Druk Tshenden Kepay Gyalkhab Na (In the land of the Dragon Kingdom, where cypress grows).
17th December is celebrated as the National Day of the country that coincides with the crowning ceremony of Gongsa Ugyen Wangchuck as the first hereditary king of Bhutan, in Punakha Dzong on 17 December 1907. It is a national holiday and every Bhutanese celebrates the day with pomp and festivity throughout the country.