A tiny nation that long lived in isolation and managed to preserve its culture and its pristine landscapes, the Kingdom of Bhutan has somewhat a mythical status. This fascinating country with meandering roads and lush green valleys is tucked away in the laps of the mighty Himalayas and offers a host of surprises for its visitors. Guess what? It measures its success in terms of happiness and not money! So, here are 20 random Bhutan facts that will simply blow your mind…
Random Bhutan Facts: 1-5
1. Did you know that the current King of Bhutan became world’s youngest reigning monarch. He was crowned when he was only 28 years old.
2. The nation is tucked between two of world’s rising superpowers – China and India. The only relation it has with China is a land dispute. Little to none diplomatic relationships exist between China and Bhutan.
3. On the contrary, Bhutan maintains good diplomatic relationships with India. Indian and Bhutanese can easily cross borders with just a valid ID proof. Nothing else is required. Many Bhutanese people get into India for acquiring higher education.
4. The Kingdom of Bhutan has a very small army of just 16,000 soldiers. They are trained by Indian Army. The total military budget of Bhutan is USD 13.7 million per year.
5. Bhutanese currency is known as Ngultrum and it always remains fixed to Indian currency – the Indian Rupee. Did you know that Indians can pay with Indian currency in Bhutan? It is widely accepted.
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Random Bhutan Facts: 6-10
6. Bhutan has an average life expectancy of 69.8 years. This data comes from 2015 report of World Health Organization.
7. Did you know that Bhutanese government provides basic health care for free. That may sound great but there is a tiny glitch. There aren’t many doctors in Bhutan and in 2007, there used to be just 1 doctor for every 50,000 Bhutanese people.
8. Bhutan is a really small country. The total area of the country is 14,800 square miles or 38,400 square kilometers. Comparatively, Switzerland is slightly bigger.
9. Bhutan was recognized as a country by United Nations only in 1974. That was the year when Bhutan received its first foreign tourists!
10. In order to receive good luck and also as a symbol of fertility, Bhutanese people paint large phallus on their houses!
Random Bhutan Facts: 11-15
11. State sponsors the primary religion (Buddhism) in Bhutan. Temples and Dzongs in Bhutan are maintained by the Government of Bhutan.
12. The King of Bhutan wears the Raven’s Crown, which in Bhutan is known as Dzongkha. The raven on top of the crown is a symbol of the guardian deity of Bhutan – Mahakala. This raven is also Bhutan’s national bird. The raven is locally known as Jaroq and there was a time when killing a raven was considered as a capital crime.
13. In whole world, Bhutan is the 8th happiest country while in Asia, the top position is captured by Bhutan.
14. The form of Buddhism considered as state religion is the Vajrayana Buddhism. This form follows trantric Buddhist texts. Did you know that after Buddhism, Hinduism is the second most famous religion in Bhutan?
15. Bhutan is home to the 17th biggest Buddha statue in whole world.
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Random Bhutan Facts: 16-20
16. Bhutan was one of the founding member countries of South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC). SAARC was created in 1985.
17. Bhutan signed Treaty of Sinchulu with Britain after the Duar War of 1865 in which Britain won. The treaty ensured that Bhutan will cede some land to British India in exchange of receiving annual subsidy. Towards the end of 19th century, Bhutan’s relation with England improved because of efforts of Ugyen Wangchuck who served as Bhutan’s de facto ruler and became King of Bhutan in 1907. In 1910, Bhutan and England signed another treaty in which Britain agreed on not interfering into internal affairs of Bhutan and in exchange Bhutan allowed Britain to direct her foreign affairs. After India became independent in 1947, India assumed this role in place of Britain.
18. In 1949, India and Bhutan signed the Indo-Bhutanese accord and India returned the land that Britain occupied to Bhutan and formalized the annual subsidy to be paid to Bhutan. Also, India’s responsibilities in foreign relations and defense was also formalized under this accord.
19. The median age of Bhutan’s population is 27.3 years with around 50% of the whole population being below 17 years of age.
20. The black-necked crane is culturally sacred in Bhutan and anyone found guilty of killing one will be given the punishment of life imprisonment. On November 12 every year, the country arranges the Black-necked Crane Festival for welcoming the birds.