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Bhutan Culture
Bhutan Culture

The Bhutanese culture is one of the oldest, most carefully guarded and well preserved cultures in the world. For the people of Bhutan realize that other than their centuries old culture and revered values, there is little else that is exclusive to their small and less developed country. In a bid to prevent their ancient customs from being influenced by the West, the Bhutanese government has made it mandatory for all Bhutanese to wear only their national dress in public.

Bhutan Culture
Culture of Bhutan is among the oldest, most carefully guarded and well preserved cultures in the world. People of Bhutan have always been careful about conserving their centuries-old culture. Even in today's time, Bhutan has been able to retain its old world charm. This is one of the reasons Bhutan is loved by the tourists who want to pass their holidays in ethnic pockets. Thimpu, the capital of Bhutan is one of the large towns in Bhutan. The major profession of the people of Bhutan is farming, who live in small rural villages. These villages are secluded and is accessible only by foot. But now, as the people are getting educated, they are migrating to towns in search of other occupations. There are three main ethnic, religious and linguistic groups and a dozen smaller groups in Bhutan: the Sharchop in the east, who originated from the tribes of northern Burma and northeast India; the Ngalops in the west, who introduced Buddhism to Bhutan after migrating from Tibet; and the Lhotsampas in the south, originally belonging to Nepal. The overall population of Bhutan is around 700,000.

The National Dress for Bhutanese men is the gho, a knee-length robe tied at the waist by a cloth belt known as the kera. Women wear an ankle-length dress, the kira, which is clipped at one shoulder and tied at the waist. An accompaniment to the kira is a long-sleeved blouse, the toego, which is worn underneath the outer layer

Dzongkha is the official language of Bhutan, but many regions in Bhutan still retain their native dialects due to their isolation. As people are receiving education, especially those in urban areas, are getting more familiar with the English language, which is also the medium of instruction in Bhutan.

Bhutan is the only country in the world to have adopted Mahayana Buddhism in its Tantric form as its official religion. The Buddhist faith has played and continues to play a fundamental role in the cultural, ethical and sociological development of country and its people. Monks are held in great respect and play an active part in community life. Almost every home in Bhutan has a special area called a chosum, which is a small shrine, or a special room used for prayers.

The national dress of Bhutan originated from the time of the first Shabdrung. The men in Bhutan wear a "gho," a long knee-length robe that is tied around the waist by a belt and the women wear a "kira," which is an ankle-length dress worn with a short jacket. To preserve the ancient customs from being influenced by the West, the Bhutanese government has made it compulsory for all Bhutanese to wear only their national dress in public.

Bhutan's national sport is Archery, which is played here with unique Bhutanese rules and equipment. The traditional bows and arrows are made out of bamboo and the teams of archers shoot at targets with amazing precision from a good distance.

Each team has a noisy crowd of supporters who, as well as encouraging their own side and try to out off the opposition. Archery tournaments happen all through the year on local, inter-village and national level.

The Bhutanese diet is rich in meat and poultry, dairy, grain and vegetables. Rice and chillies are the major features of Bhutanese diet. Emadatse (chilly pepper and cheese stew) is considered the national dish with many interpretations of this recipe throughout the country. Salted butter tea, or suja, is served on all social occasions. Chang, a local beer, and arra, a spirit distilled from rice, maize, wheat or barley, are also common and widely favoured. Doma or betel nut is offered as a customary gesture of greeting. The chilies are considered as a vegetable and not just a spice. Bhutanese dishes are mostly fiery and meats like pork, radish (daikon) that is dried beef mixed with vegetables and yak meat, when it's in season, are widely eaten . A dish called "ema datse," which is chilies and cheese, is one of the favorite dishes in Bhutan. Buckwheat is the main staple diet in central Bhutan, since it is situated at an altitude that is too high to grow rice. The Bumthang region of central Bhutan is known for its buckwheat pancakes and noodles.

The Bhutanese architecture is characterized by structural designs and exterior paintwork (shapes, colors, and patterns), representing national identity and traditional meanings. Dzongs (fortresses), Gompas (monasteries), Chortens (shrines/stupas), Lakhangs (temples) and houses are some of the impressive and important structures in Bhutan. Traditionally Bhutanese houses are made out of mud, bamboo, and wood. The doors and windows of Bhutanese houses are decorated with animal, religious, or floral designs. Most of the monasteries and temples throughout Bhutan are built on steep hillsides and in other remote places. This ensures that the monks get solitude and serenity. All the monasteries in Bhutan have some common features though they also have their own design. Monasteries here have a central chapel with statues and separate sleeping quarters for the monks. There are prayer wheels around the outside and a round gold-coloured ornament on the roof. Temples are not very different from monasteries in design and look; the only difference between them is that they do not house monks.

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