Nestled in the slopes of the Eastern Himalayas and shrouded in mysteries and folklores, Bhutan is the only surviving Buddhist nation in the world. Having been subjected to a state of self-imposed seclusion, this tiny Asian kingdom has recently come into the view of the world with the present enlightened government. The physical isolation and self-sufficiency have thus helped to preserve the country`s Buddhist monarchy, sovereignty and at the same time has also brought up many surprising elements thus, making the nation more special and fascinating.
Cultural facts about Bhutan
Here are 11 interesting things that you probably have never heard before about this mysterious Kingdom in the Himalayas.
1. Bhutan is the last country to allow Television and media
It was only when the former King was coronated that international media was allowed in the country to commemorate on the celebration and hotels were built to provide accommodation.
2. The first carbon negative country in the world
Bhutan is the only carbon negative country in the world, which means it produces less amount of CO2 than it actually absorbs. The credit somehow goes to the country Head who mentioned within the constitution that two-thirds of its land area should be covered by forests. The figure now stands at 72%.
3. Gross National Happiness over Gross National Product
Another interesting fact about Bhutan is that the overall wealth of the country is measured through its four supporting pillars related to Sustainable Development, Environmental Conservation, and Establishment of Good Governance.
4. Abdication of the throne in favour of democracy
Bhutan`s King Jigme Singye Wangchuk abdicated his throne after ascending for 34 years in the favour of democracy more than in favour of his son. The former King realized that the country might not always have a good King, so he called up for elections and established a Constitution in 2005, to install democracy. Today, Bhutan stands as the most powerful Buddhist monarchy in the world.
5. It is compulsory to wear the traditional Bhutanese dress
One of the most distinctive features of Bhutan in preserving the nation`s rich heritage is their traditional outfit and that which is made compulsory to wear in their daily life.
6. Bhutan is free of traffic lights
Bhutan is the second traffic lights free country in the world, the other being Pyongyang in North Korea. In fact, there was once a single signal installed which was immediately removed when the country witnessed a public outcry. You can thus imagine in your head that there aren`t many cars around and that the locals are very well-behaved. Continue reading more about Bhutan`s facts.
7. Bhutanese people love hot and spicy food
Another crazy fact about Bhutan that can open your eyes to wonder is their spicy hot cuisine. Bhutan is one such country where chillies are not used as an ingredient but as a pure vegetable. You can`t just return back from Bhutan without tasting the very famous and scrumptious ema-datshi, a dish prepared from chillies and cheese.
8. The Divine Mad Man`s unique teachings of painting the images of phalluses to fend off evil spirits
To discover paintings of phalluses on the facade of every house in Bhutan might be a little surprising and awkward but made known by the country`s most strangest deity and an unconventional Buddhist preacher popularly known as the Divine Mad Man, such paintings are believed to ward off the evil spirits. Legends speak that he would bless you consider your queries only if he was presented with a bottle of wine and a woman.
9. The world`s highest unclimbed mountains
You must have gone through several Bhutan blogs which describes the beauty of its mountains, but sad to know that the country has no mountaineers. In fact, the highest unclimbed mountain in the world Gangkhar Puensum stands at an elevation of 24,840 ft.
10. No cigarettes
Bhutan is the only country in the world which has banned the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products. According to the new rule in Tobacco Control Act passed by the parliament in 2010, if you are found smoking without a legal receipt, you can be sentenced to jail.
11. The national animal of Bhutan is partially a goat and a yak
Yes, neither a goat nor a yak, the national animal of Bhutan is a weird looking creature called Takin that looks partially like a goat and a yak. It is believed that the Divine Mad Man created this unusual creature with the bones of both the animals.