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BHUTAN HISTORY - Wild Mountain Adventure
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Bhutan, the Land of the Thunder Dragon has been inhabited as early as 2000BC. The country lived for ages as an independent isolated nation between its two giant neighboring countries, India in the south and Tibet in the north.  There are no authentic surviving history or record both orally or written regarding its inhabitant till 7th century AD, but there are evidence regarding its inhabitance from 2000 BC from the stone implementation found.

There are no surviving records, oral or written regarding the history of Bhutan but the history per se can be understood or found form 7th century AD. For further understanding of Bhutan, history it has to be linked with inextricably religious practice, figures, events, and the legends surrounds them. According to the legend, the recorded history of Bhutan begins in the seventh century when the Tibetan King, Songtsen Gampo, constructed its first two Buddhist temple in Bhutan – Kyechu Lhakhang in Paro and Jambay Lhakhang in Bumthang (central Bhutan). From this day onward, there were many activities with the visit of different religious leader from Tibet and India later on settled here in Bhutan. Thus, this proofs the clear history of Bhutan dating from seventh century.

There is no definitive version of how the country got its name - several names were given to described the country and most common reference is derived from Bhot-stand (the land of the Bhotias), Bootan or Bhotan (by the earlier British), Bhotanta (end of Tibet).Therefore, for centuries, the country around the world did not know of its existence and moreover, did not know her name. However, Bhutanese have always called their country as Druk-Yul the “Land of the Thunder Dragon” and called themselves as Drukpas.

In the eight century the enlightened tantric master Guru Rimpoche (Padmasambhava) visited Bhutan at an invitation of Sindhu Gyeb (Sindhu Raja) and later made many visit to Bhutan, establishing several sacred sites and Buddhist teaching on the land, planting the seeds of a culture that thrives to this days. Over the years, many other Buddhist saints and religious leaders help shape Bhutan’s history and develop its religion. The most significant event in the history of Bhutan is considered to come from Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, who was originally from Tibet and came to Bhutan in 1616. He was the man lama who unified the scattered piece of Bhutan under a single authority. Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel implemented the system of building dzong in Bhutan, also established the monastic schools, and later brought everything under his political system. He established the dual system of governmence where Druk Desi (regent) represents the temporal power and Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot) a spiritual power. However, after the death of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel there was a struggle for the power and last until 1907, when Gongsar Ugyen Wangchuk was anointed as the first king of Bhutan.

Bhutan has remained so far as an independent and isolated country for centuries because of its tiny size and less revered fames. Most of its geographical highland, such as rugged snowcapped mountains in the north and its deep forest with fast flowing rivers and malaria infested bushes in the southern foothills, prohibited foreign aliens and visitors to get into Bhutan. However, all this time, Bhutan choose to remain completely isolated and no contacts with the outside world.

When the powerful force of globalization and modernization appeared in the western world. The isolated independent nation of Bhutan shook to change under the kingship of His Majesty King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, the third king of Bhutan. The third king introduced the concept of modernization in 1950s and began it formal process of planning modernization in 1961. The land of the Thunder Dragon now stands on the thresholds of historical change. The fourth generation of monarch, King Jigme Singye Wangchuk after he was crown as the fourth king of Bhutan in 1974, beginning from his reign, the country began to open its doors to tourist. In 2006 he abdicated the throne in favor of his son King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuk, the fifth king, Bhutan began in the policy of democratic reforms. The very traditional monarchy gave a way for a dramatic transaction into a democratic constitutional monarchy

Throughout its process of evolution, today, Bhutan under the guidance of its values and priorities that have helped it to remain a unique country in a rapidly changing world through achieving carefully its modern development. Bhutan has proven itself to the world with all well equipped modern amenities and has proven to be one of the exotic tourist destination in the world. Bhutan hopes to survive by clinging on to the age-old values that rest of the world has lost. Bhutan has fewer than one million populations and by majority, more than 80% of populations are agrarian by profession. The Hydropower and the tourism forms the main income for the country with agricultural as a subsistence farming.

Today, buying cigarettes and consumptions of tobacco stuffs is illegal in Bhutan. Red rice and chilies are not only a seasonal but also the entire dish. Large painting of giant penises are painted on the walls or hanged from the roof with a belief of protections. Gross National Happiness is deemed more important that Gross National Products. Tourism is also unique in Bhutan where government has sets a unique tariff for visitors and get part of that

Area: 38,394
Country Code: 975
Forest Coverage: 72.5%
Population: 6,97,335
State Religion: Mahayana Buddhism (Vajrayana Form)
Official Language: Dzongkha
Currency: Ngultrum (at par with the Indian Rupee)
Life Expectancy: 66 years

There is no clear record regarding political system of Bhutan before seventeenth century. However, it was evolved over a time together with its tradition and culture. Locally people believe that political movement begins in 1616 with the arrival of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel from Tibet. He ably led the country in all spheres – spiritual, cultural and military and introduced the dual system of governance with Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot) as a spiritual leader of the monastic body and Druk Desi (Regent) as the temporal ruler of the states. His authority begins after building the mighty Semtokha Dzong in 1629, which was the symbolic authority and later exercise power and control over building series of dzongs across the country. He is regarded as the founder of the Bhutanese states. However, the major breakthrough of the political system and the end of the dual system of government came in 1907, when the people unanimously elected Sir Ugyen Wangchuk as the hereditary ruler of the country by a conclave of Bhutan’s chieftains, principals, lamas, representative of monks, civil servants and the people. He was elected as the head of state and crowned Druk Gyelpo (Dragon King) on 17th December 1907. He ended several strives which lasted for centuries and brought much needed stability and peace in the country. Under the leadership of the third king of Bhutan, more dramatic governmence has been ensured where e established the National Assembly (Tshogdu) in 1953. Every gewog has an elected members representing in the National Assembly, where they acted together in discussing issues of national importance. The third king also established the Royal Advisory Council (Lodoe Tshogdu) in 1963. In additional the Dzongkhag Yargay Tshogdu (District Development Assembly) in 1981 and Gewag Yargay Tshogchung (Country Development Assembly) in 1991 was introduced by the Fourth King Jigme Singye Wangchuk. The devolution of the power of the king in 1998 to the cabinet ministers was the highest form of decentralization, whereby the king, begin to serve as the head of the state while the Prime Minister managed the government. After carefully drafting the constitution in 2001 under the advice of the fourth king, the democratic constitution was launched in 2008 where the Parliamentary Democracy was introduced. Bhutan held its first elections in 2008 and Druk Phunsum Tshogpa was mandated by the people to head the new government with Lyonchen Jigme Y Thinley as first Prime Minister of Bhutan. The Ruling Party, Opposition Party and National Council, under the government comprise of Legislature, Judiciary and the Executive forms the Legislative body.

Tantric Buddhism is the official national religion of Bhutan. Bhutanese culture, customs, history and landscape bear the most venerable traces of the influence of Buddhism and Bhutanese people are very religious. Bhutan the tiny kingdom in the Himalaya came under the Buddhist influence via Tibet. Historically, Buddhism was first introduced under the influence of the Tibetan king Songtsen Gyampo, who built 108 temples in the 7th century AD to subdue the giant ogress that lay across the whole of the Himalayas. The Indian missionary Guru Rinpoche later spread it when he traveled through Bhutan en route to Samye (Tibet) in the eight century AD. Buddhism in Bhutan was flourished rapidly during the time of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel (1594-1651), the founder of the Bhutanese nation. He instituted the Buddhist Sangha (monk body) in Bhutan and the monk body played an important role in the spiritual and cultural lives of the people. Since almost every important occasion in Bhutan is invested with religious significance like – invitation of monks to the household to perform rituals and read scriptures for the betterment and wellbeing of the household and for other ceremonies events like – birth, marriage, sickness, death, construction and consecration ceremonies, office promotion, and other day-to-day activities and functions. Conforming to the religious practice, Bhutanese people do not slaughter nor kill living beings and animals.