- Bhutan is the eighth “happiest” country in the world and the happiest country in Asia. This is despite widespread poverty and illiteracy. According to a survey, reasons attributing to the happiness were the nation’s beautiful scenery, land-locked isolation and strong sense of national identity.
- Television was banned in the country until 1999 to preserve its cultural identity.
- The fourth Dragon King, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, introduced a Constitution in 2005 and abdicated the throne in favour of his son, King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuk in 2008.
- King Jigme Singye Wangchuck coined the term “Gross National Happiness.”
- The kingdom constantly faced fears of Tibetan invasion and British colonization yet managed to remain a sovereign country.
- The Tibetan lama Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel who also built fortresses called Dzongs to fight Tibetan invaders unified Bhutan.
- Britain never colonized Bhutan but the country’s forces were defeated in North Bengal and a treaty was signed between them, which gave Britain control over its foreign relations. When India gained independence in 1947, it also became a powerful influence over Bhutan.
- Bhutan is mainly Buddhist with a Hindu and Christian minority. Phalluses are painted on walls or wooden ones are hung from rooftops to ward off the evil eye.
- The country’s national sport is archery. Teams dance around the targets to distract their opponents.
10. The country’s national dish is a fiery stew made of red or green chilies cooked in a cheese sauce. It’s served with rice or “rotis”.