BHUTAN- the Land of the Thunder Dragon
Bhutan is a small landlocked sovereign state in Eastern Himalayas in South Asia located between the People’s Republic of China to the north and India to the south, east and west. The landscape ranges from subtropical plains in the south to the sub-alpine Himalayan mountains in the north, where there are peaks in excess of 7,200 metres (23,000 ft) . Bhutan has a population over seven hundred people. Thimphu is the capital city of Bhutan.
Bhutan became a constitutional democratic nation in 2008 after being an absolute monarchy for about a century. His Majesty the Great Fourth, King Jigme Singye Wangchuck voluntarily conferred the power of government upon the citizens despite reluctance of his people to welcome the democracy. The Bhutanese people were happy and comfortable to serve under their king. Hence, hearing the decision of His Majesty the Great Fourth about the introduction of the democracy in Bhutan, people expressed their sadness and requested the king to rescind his command for democracy. But the visionary monarch, envisaging the importance of democracy in Bhutan moved forward with his decision. Not only that, on December 14, 2006, he announced his abdication of the golden throne in favour of his son His Royal Highness Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck. Subsequently, on November 6, 2008, 28-year-old Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck, was crowned as the Fifth King of Bhutan.
The constitution of the land confers freedom to its people to choose religion of their choice. However, over three-fourth of the population follow Vajrayana Buddhism which is the state religion. The rest of the population follow Hinduism and other religions. Buddhism was introduced to Bhutan in the 7th century AD and since then it continued to promulgate through the visitations of series of Buddhist Masters over the time. Today, Bhutan houses numerous historic and sacred Buddhist temples and other structures which have become the most visited tourist destinations.
On one hand, Bhutan is fond of international sports for which she has a separate organization called Bhutan Olympic Committee governing such sports. The national sportsmen have displayed their abilities at the international platforms through the act of participation and being a host.
On the other hand, Bhutan also maintains a good culture of preserving its indigenous sports or rather games. The tiny nation has a wide variety of indigenous games such as Khuru (darts), Sogsom (kind of a javeline), Degor (played with a pair of round stone slabs) and many other regional traditional games. However, the most popular game aside from the aforementioned games is archery and it is the national game of Bhutan. Archery was declared as the national game in 1971 during the reign of the Third Druk Gyalpo, King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. His Majesty was really fond of archery.
In the past, archery was played during occasions such as new year, national events and also to mark victories. It was played between villages, blocks, districts and regions to socialize and integrate the traditional values. Prevalently, the game is played rarely in villages but has become rampant in cities as it is played during the weekends by the civil servants, corporate employees and business individuals. The organization governing the activities related to archery organizes about four tournaments in a year with the objective of preserving the old age game. However, archery is now played on two different types of equipment- traditional equipment (made of bamboo) and imported equipment with pulleys and enhanced aiming system. Irrespective of the type of equipment, archery is traditionally played between two teams consisting of eleven archers each. The archers shoot at the wooden targets placed in two different points facing each other. The distance between the targets is 140 meters apart for traditional equipment and 145 meters for imported equipment.
Motithang Takin Preserve which initially was a mini-zoo is located in Motithang. Takin is the national animal of Bhutan since November 25, 2005. It was declared as the national animal because it is said to be created by divine master Lama Drukpa Kunley in the 15th Century. These creatures are unique in appearance and they are rare to found.