21st Feb. 2018
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Bhutan Introduction  
Culture & Customs

Bhutan, the “last Sangrilla”, which is also one of the fastest growing economies in the South Asia, seems to be attempting a harmony between traditions & modernity. Even the recent ethnic tesions between the Lhothsampas & the ruling Drukpas may be seen as Bhutan’s anxiety for preserving its traditional culture. The same anxiety prompted the monarchs to enforce the national dress gho for men, & kira for women, & Dzongkha as the national language.

Bhutanese arts predominantly express themselves through the symbolic traditions of the Tibetan Mahayana Buddhism. Traditionally, the artists used to be the monk Gurus & disciples. The architecture shows a blending of the Tibetan, Indian, & Chinese influences. The two storey Bhutia houses are made from stone & timber, the lower storey being for the livestock, & the upper storey for the householders.

Bhutanese diet includes meat, poultry, dairy products, red and white rice, and various vegetables. You’re already familiar with the Momos & Thukpa, if you’ve been to Nepal. A hot dish made from green chillies & cheese called ema dates is the most popular Bhutanese item.

Social orientation:
Unlike India & Nepal, a prominent social factor in Bhutan is the absence of the caste systems. Observing the official dress code called known as Driglam Namzha is mandatory for all Bhutanese. Traditionally, Bhutan is a matriarchal society. Bhutanese names that are chosen by a lama during the naming ceremony do not contain family names, except for the Wangchuk royals. Many families send their sons between six & nine to monasteries to become monks. Child marriages were common until recently, & are not uncommon in the far flung areas to date.

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