Art, Architecture & crafts
Traditional architecture remains alive in Bhutan. All buildings are constructed with multi-colored wood frontages, small arched windows, and sloping roofs. Walls of homes in western Bhutan are most frequently rammed earthen walls, pounded in to wooden frames and rendered with lime. Completed mud walls may be left naturally colored or whitewashed. In the wetter eastern valleys of Bhutan where settlements are dug directly into mountainside, the walls are more often made of stone. No plans are drawn up, nor are nails or iron bars used in the construction. Bhutan is rich traditional of arts, architecture and handicrafts is a vital expect of our unique cultural heritage.
The Bhutan is also in famous of its own Arts and Craft. There are thirteen traditional arts and crafts which is practiced right from the immemorial/ancient times, it is commonly understood that it was formally categorized during the reign of Gyalse Tenzin Rabgay, the fourth temporal ruler of Bhutan. The thirteen arts and crafts are categorized as follows: Shingzo (Woodwork), Dhozo (Stonework), Par zo (Carving), Lhazo (Painting), Jim zo (Sculpting) Lug zo (Casting), Shag zo (Wood Turning), Gar zo (Blacksmith), Troezo (Ornament Making), Tshazo (Bamboo Work), De zo (Paper Making), Tshemzo (Tailoring, embroidery and applique) and Thagzo (Weaving).
Culture and Heritage
As unbelievable as it may seem, the Bhutanese have made a lifelong commitment to preserve its ancient heritage. Bhutan glorifies its own isolation and fights shy of unrestrained development and external influence. There is no country in the world the kind of tradition and culture that one can see in Bhutan. Bhutan boasts of its cultural uniqueness.
Cradled in the folds of the Himalayas, Bhutan has relied on its geographic isolation to protect itself from outside cultural influences. Bhutan is a sparsely populated country bordered by India to the South and Tibet Region of China to the North. Druk Yul, the blessed land of the Thunder Dragon, where the teachings of the enlightened Lord Buddha & Guru Rimpochhe continue to flourish.
Bhutan has maintained a policy of strict isolationism, both culturally and economically, aimed to preserve its cultural heritage and independence. Only in the last decades of the 20th century were foreigners allowed to visit the country in a limited numbers. Resultant of chinch, Bhutan has successfully preserved many aspects of its culture dating directly back to the mid-17th century.
Spicy chilies (Ema) mixed with cottage cheese called ‘Ema Datsi’ is the national dish of Bhutan. Chilies are treated as vegetables rather than a seasoning in the Bhutanese diet. A wide variety of fresh vegetables are a daily staple of the Bhutanese diet. Red and white rice are served at all meals. Meat, poultry and fish, usually in the form of stews are also found on many Bhutanese menus along with Momo (Dumpling) and noodle dishes. Bhutan’s professional chefs temper their natural tendency to over spice dishes by preparing food more suitable to western palate and taste ranging from Continental to Chinese. Tibetan, Thai, Korean and Indian cuisines are also available.
Bhutanese people can be generally categorized into three main ethic groups. The Ngalops in the West, Tshanglas in the East and the Lhotshampas in the South. There are largely Brokpas and Bjobs inhabit northern regions of Bhutan. The other minority groups are the Bumthaps and the Khengpas of central Bhutan, the Kurtoeps in Lhuentse, the Doyas of Samtse and the Monpas of Rukha villages in WangduePhodrang, making up the total population of the country just over half the million. These groups can be distinguished by language, religion, and socioeconomic characteristics.
Bhutan is a land-locked country with mountainous terrain. The Bhutanese are divided into many ethnic groups such as the Ngalops – Western Region, Sharshops – Eastern Region, Brokpas & Layaps – Highlanders, Nepalese Origins – Southern Region each with their distinct language and dress. There are 14 main different different dialects are spoken even today. The Highlanders still live a nomadic life depend on their livestock. According to the latest census recorded in 2012 Bhutan has a population of 700,000. Thmphu is perhaps the smallest capital in the world with an estimated population of 100,000.
Most Bhutanese are linguist by nature speaking more of four major languages and additionally, English, Hindi and are spoken with flair. Traditionally, public and private communications, religious materials, and official documents were written in chhokey, the classical Tibetan script, and a Bhutanese adaptive cursive script was developed for correspondence. In modern times, as in the past, chhokey, which exists only in written form, was understood only by the well educated. Hindi is understood among Bhutanese educated in India and was the language of instruction in the schools from early 1930s. English became the medium of instruction in the “formal” education system from the beginning of the 1960s. The national language is called Dzongkha widely spoken in the western region.
The government’s effort to preserve traditional culture and to strengthen the contemporary sense of national identity (driglam namzha-national customs and etiquette) has been its emphasis on Dzongkha-language study.
The four main dialects are Sharchopkha or Tsangla and Mon-kha language spoken in eastern region; Bumthangkha, including Khengkha spoken in central region; and Nepali or Lhotsamkha prominently spoken in the southern region. Along with Dzongkha and English, Nepali was once one of the three official languages used in Bhutan.
The Buddhist faith has played and continues to play a fundamental role in the cultural, ethical and sociological development of Bhutan and its people. Religion is the essence of Bhutanese life and society. The Drukpa Kagyu order of the Mahayana Buddhism is the state religion of Bhutan. Buddhism is practiced throughout the country. A small fraction of population in the south practice Hinduism by origins of Nepali immigrants. Bhutan is truly a perfect representation of the perfect harmony of the Buddhist way of life.