Bhutan Today

Bhutan has been populated as early as 2000 B.C from the stone implements that are found by an archaeological study. From the DNA samples taken last year it suggested that, the people of Black mountain range are 50000 years old. The absence of Neolithic mythological legends argues against earlier inhabitation. A more certain prehistoric period has been theorized by historians as that of the state with four names. Known as Lhomon kha-shi (country of four approches), Monyul (land of the darkness, before the arrival of Buddhism and reference to the Monpa aboriginal peoples of Bhutan), Lhomon Tsenden kepai-jong jong (sandalwood country) and Lhojong Menjong (country of medicinal herbs). Variations of the Sanskrit words Bhota-ant (end of Bhot, an Indian name for Tibet) or Bhu-uttan (meaning highlands) have been suggested by historians as origins of the name Bhutan, which came into common foreign use in the late nineteenth century and is used “Bhutan” in English and Hindi language official correspondences and sometimes spelled as Bootan.

The traditional name of the country since the seventeenth century, after the arrival of Shabdrung Nawang Namgyel, who unified Bhutan and called Drukyul- country of the Drukpa, Drukpa – the people of Druk-yul and Drukpa-Kagyu- the state religion of Bhutan today.

Geographically, Bhutan, a small country at 45,500 square kilometers approxmately, is squashed between two giant countries. Some of the highest mountains in the world mark its northern border with Tibet and to the south is India. The lowest point in the country is 250 mts, in the south, rising to 7,450 mts in the north. Most of the mountains are unscaled because people believe that every mountain is the abode of goddesses who protect the country from invaders.

Today Bhutan is the last Mahayana Buddhist country in the world, ruled by a farsighted king Jigme Singye Wangchuk, who has guided his subject in the 21st century with a vision. He has taken the philosophy that the Gross National Happiness is more important than the Gross national Product. By the beginning of the year, 2007 there will be strong constitution, already distributed to the people for wide consultation and democratic system where the first direct election of Prime Minister will be held.

Bhutan is one step-ahead of Mcdonald and the rural life is still traditional. The internet and television started four years ago and Bhutan has become the part of global village, though only in the urban areas. For better or worse change is inevitable but the Buddhist philosophy plays an important role in day to day life, from social gathering to official ceremonies still does follow the way forefathers did for centuries.