History of Bhutan

The first humans probably arrived sometime after the Ice Age. Historical records began with the arrival of Buddhism in the 7th century, when Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) visited Bhutan and established monasteries.

Beautiful Bhutan

In 1865, Britain and Bhutan signed the Treaty of Sinchulu, which Bhutan would receive an annual subsidy in exchange for ceding some border land. Under British influence, a monarchy was set up in 1907. Thereafter, a treaty was signed with Britan. The British agreed not to interfere in Bhutanese internal affairs whereas Bhutan allowed Britain to direct its foreign affairs. This role was assumed by independent India after 1947. Two years later, a formal Indo-Bhutanese accord returned the areas of Bhutan annexed by the British.

In December 2006, King Jigme Singye Wangchuck transferred power to his oldest son, the Crown Prince Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck. This bestowed upon him the title of the fifth Druk Gyalpo. The official coronation took place in November 2008. In addition, the Fifth King is Boston and Oxford educated and is held in high esteem throughout the country.

Climate

Although geographically quite small, Bhutan’s weather varies from north to south and valley to valley, depending on the elevation.

In the North, it is perennially covered with snow. In the western, central and eastern Bhutan (Ha, Paro, Thimphu, Wandue, Trongsa, Bumthang, Trashi Yangtse, Lhuntse) you will experience European-like weather. Winter happens from November to March. However, Punakha is an exception as it is in a lower valley and summer is hot and winter is pleasant.

Southern Bhutan bordering with India is hot and humid with a sub-tropical climate. While the monsoon affects northern Indian, it does not command the same influence in Bhutan. Summer months tend to be wetter with isolated showers predominately in the evenings only. Winter is by far the driest period while spring and autumn tend to be pleasant.

Bhutan in Winter

Bhutan in Winter

There are four distinct seasons similar in their divisions to those of Western Europe. Temperatures in the far south range from 15°C in winter (December to February) to 30°C in summer (June to August). In Thimphu the range is from -2.5°C in January to 25°C in August and with a rainfall of 100mm. In the high mountain regions the average temperature is 0°C in winter and may reach 10°C in summer, with an average of 350mm of rain. Precipitation varies significantly with the elevation. The average rainfall varies from region to region.

Cities in Bhutan

While Bhutanese villages are generally very picturesque, the towns are characterized by their concrete, utilitarian structures with the notable exceptions being Trashiyangtse and Trashigang.

City in Bhutan

  • Thimphu – The capital city
  • Jakar (Bumthang) – An administrative town in the north and the birthplace of Buddhism in Bhutan.
  • Mongar – One of the largest towns in east Bhutan.
  • Paro – The location of the international airport and Taktsang Monastery.
  • Punakha – A former winter capital of Bhutan which still hosts the monastic body in winter.
  • Phuentsholing – A town on the Indian border. The point of entry for travelers arriving by bus from West Bengal.
  • Samdrup Jongkhar – An administrative town in the southeast, which is the point of entry for travelers arriving from [Assam].
  • Trashigang – A picturesque administrative town in the east.
  • Trongsa – A small administrative town famous for its dzong and the Tower of Trongsa
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