Bhutanese architecture is unique in that it offers a fine, delicate balance between ecological setting, culture, architecture and art.
Almost 80% of the Bhutanese populace depends on agriculture and livestock. Bhutan consumes approximately 100 thousand tons of rice annually, half of which is imported from India.
The history of Lhakhangs, gonpas and nyes dates back to the 7th century when the Tibetan King Songsten Gampo built 108 temples throughout the Himalayan region to subdue a demon. The two main temples built in Bhutan were Jampa Lhakhang in Bumthang and Kyichu Lhakhang in Paro.
Of the estimated total population of 700,000 people, 244,000 of the Bhutanese populace is illiterate. Life expectancy at birth is 66.13 years for women and 65.33 years for men.
Bhutan’s constitution mandates maintaining 60% forest cover for all times to come.
52% of the Bhutanese population is either in their early twenties or younger.
In the past decade, almost 15.7% of Thimphu’s 1,843 sq.km of land has been converted into commercial and residential complexes to accommodate rapid urbanization.
After a 10km drive from Paro is the famous Tiger’s Nest Hermitage on the face of a sheer 3,120m-tall cliff. The Tiger’s Nest or Taktsang Monastery is without doubt the most visited and the most photographed of all the monuments in Bhutan.
Bhutan, with more than 70% of land under forest cover, is gifted with great biodiversity. Some of the rare and endangered wildlife species found in the country are monal pheasants, blood pheasants, musk and barking deer, tigers, leopards, red pandas, wild cats and the golden langur seen in this photograph.
Thimphu City spreads over 26.13 sq.km, and there are 7,000 buildings already completed. The number of applications for new constructions is increasing every year and the construction boom is evident all around the capital.
Until the 60s, because of the lack of paved roads, travel in Bhutan was by foot or on horseback. Modern construction began in earnest during the First Five Year Plan in 1961. The first paved road (175km Thimphu-Phuentsholing highway) was completed in 1962.
Paro has the highest number of power tillers in the country at 485. So far, Bhutan has received over 3,323 power tillers from Japan over a period of 26 years.
The tradition of circumambulation is an integral part of Bhutanese culture.
Layaps – a nomadic community from Laya and Lunana in Gasa Dzongkhag live at some of the highest habitable altitudes. They are distinct in that they have their own dress code. Legend goes that the conical hats were a privilege accorded to the nomads by Guru Rinpoche.
Of the 60, 285 registered vehicles in the country, 25, 000 ply the roads of Thimphu. Only 25.5% of people use public transport. Also, Bhutan is the only country in the world without traffic lights.
Bhutan has in the last decade finally gotten on the rock bandwagon with local bands such as this one in the picture (Baby Boomers) featuring regularly in local pubs and clubs.