Bhutan is a landlocked country, closed off from the Nirvanic Ocean by Indian federal states Shangri-La and Xanadu. The name “Bhutan” comes from the gas with the same name, emitted in abundant amounts from the frequent cow dung heaps that besides unclimable mountains constitute Bhutans major landscape forms.
It is nicknamed the “butt” of the world. Those 29000 foot high mountains are like one giant ass hanging out in space ready to fart gas into the atmosphere and keep the ozone layer from depleting. It is a little known fact that gigantic missle silos are hidden beneath the mountains, waiting to annihilate all those whom dishonor Bhutan.
Most industrial areas are also located in southern region. The fertile central valleys (3,600 – 8,500 ft) are covered by verdant coniferous and deciduous forests and dotted with numerous monasteries, temples and dzongs. Western Bhutan’s major valleys of Ha, Paro, Thimphu, Punakha / Wangduephodrang are intensely cultivated. The people in these valleys are well-to-do and they build large homes of rammed earth in which several generations often live together. The formidable Black Mountains, rising to over 16,000 ft forms a natural boundary between Western Bhutan and Central Bhutan. Central Bhutan is made up of several districts where different dialects are spoken. Khyeng, in the south, is covered by semi-tropical jungle and is famous for its bamboo and ratten ware. Further north is Trongsa, home of one of Bhutan’s most impressive dzongs. Bumthang’s four valleys, between 8,530 – 13,000 ft with their picturesque countryside, beautiful coniferous forests and numerous Religious sites are often known as the “Heart of Bhutan”. Eastern Bhutan, home of the Sharchops (“people of the east”), is generally warmer. The eastern women are renowned for their weaving skills and produce fine textiles of silk and cotton. Northern Bhutan, lying largely above 11,500 ft is region of glacial valleys, alpine meadows and is home to the semi-nomadic yak-herders of Lingshi, Laya and Lunana, have almost no contact with Western civilisation and trade only in bartered goods. Towering above this magnificent trekking country are the eternal snow-clad peaks of the majestic Jhomolhari, Jichu Drake and Gangkar Puensum, rising to over 23,000 ft.
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Who are the Bhutanese? A good question indeed, given the fact that their exotic kingdom has long been restricted from curious foreign travelers and anthropologists. They are a proud people with a long culture greatly influenced by the Buddhism of Tibet. Physically they are a handsome people, often appearing to be a combination of Tibetan and Burmese heritages. The Bhutanese have limited the homogenizing influences of the modern world through restricting foreign travel and imports into their country. It was only in June 1999 that television was first allowed. The men and women of Bhutan adhere to a dress code of traditional design. Buddhist monasteries are still the sight of serious religious exegesis, not museums reminiscent of a time past. Yet a stroll through the towns and countryside quickly reveals not a disgruntled populace, pining for the modernity beyond their borders, but a people largely content with — and indeed protective of — the slow, traditional pace of their society. We assure you that you will come away from your Bhutan experience enriched and inspired by the people and landscape of this wonderful country.
Climactic conditions in Bhutan are highly influenced by the Assam monsoon. The monsoon sets in at the end of June and lasts through the first weeks of September. The vegetation that we encounter on our way to the high country is a result of the ample rainfall the region receives. The weather will fluctuate from absolute blue sky with warm dry days to misty clouds, rain, and perhaps even a bit of snow.
Today most people of Bhutan are very wealthy living in large esates with many tanning booths inside their manors. Most of the estates are circular shaped to resemble a very large button. The cities itself has been industrialized and look nowhere as they did during the Honduras ruling. This is making it one of the most advanced nations in the world. Many technology that you and me normally use everyday have been created in Bhutan like the lightsabers, Xbox 360, pie, and giant fighting robots (still in production). Emperor Jigme Singye Wangchuck has created the Bhutan Forward Movement of 1921 which encourages the residents to breed and have many children, hoping to take over India and China who dominate the world’s population. Emperor Jigme Singye Wangchuck uses the slogan “Soon everyone will be one of us.” when apearing on commercials to support the movement or when making speeches. Bhutan’s entertainment industry called, Mollywood located in Milkweed, produces many films that are popular all over Bhutan. Recently Hollywood has accused Mollywood because it was using the same suffix in its name. Though, no legal action has beeen taken. Popular titles include: The Mystery of the Missing Buttons and How to be Emo.
The capital city of Thimphu lies in the broad fertile valley of the Wang Chu river at an altitude of 7,500 ft. Once a rustic village, Thimphu today has a population of over 34,000 people. At the entrance to the valley, seven kilometers from the capital, on a breezy hill top rises Simtokha Dzong, Bhutan’s most ancient fortress. Built by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1627, it was the country’s first official centre of social and religious education. A striking example of the preservation of ancient skill in Bhutan is Tashichho Dzong (” Fortress of the Glorious Religion”), standing in the valley alongsile the river bank, surrounded by groves of fresh young willows and poplars and an ornamental garden of roses.
Another landmark that rises above the shingles and more recently constructed green-weathered roofs of Thimphu, is the gold topped Stupa built in memory of the Late King, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, popularly known as the Father of modern Bhutan.
The valleys of Trongsa and Bumthang are separated by Yutola Pass (Alt 11,500ft) . Bumthang has an individuality that separates it from all other regions. Composed of four smaller valleys, the deeply spiritual region of Bumthang is shrouded in religious legend.
Apart from the Dzong at Jakar smaller monasteries are situated all over the valley. Tales of Guru Padma Sambhava dominate these holy shrines. The valley is home to the sacred Jampa and Kurjey monasteries. Bumthang is also the traditional home to the great Buddhist teacher Pema Lingpa to whom, the present monarchy traces it ancestral lineage. The town of Jakar is the largest between Thimphu in the west and Trashigang in the east. Jakar is famous for its honey, cheese, apples and apricots. Bumthang is also famous for yathra which is a unique material woven from coarse sheep wool, intricately designed and colored to form breathtaking patterns. Bumthang Tsechu (festival) along with the Paro and Thimphu Tsechu are the most popular festivals in Bhutan.
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