History And Culture of Bhutan

History And Culture of Bhutan

 History And Culture

It is believed that the country got its name 'Bhutan' from the Sanskrit word 'Bhu-Uttan' which means 'High Land' .Another theory says that it comes from the Sanskrit word 'Bhots-ant' meaning 'end of Tibet or south of Tibet'. However to the Bhutanese themselves, their country is known as "Druk Yul" and its inhabitants as 'Drukpa'.

In Bhutanese language, Druk means dragon and 'Druk-Yul' means 'the land of the Dragon'. Recorded histroy begins from around the 8th century AD. In the 8th century the great Tantric mystic Guru Padmasambhava came to Bhutan from Swat,todays' Pakistan,and spread the Buddhist faith The greatest event in the history of Bhutan was the arrival of Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel(1594-1652) from Tibet in 1616.He was aged 23.

He was to become the first person to bring all parts of Bhutan under one central authority and unify the 'country'. After repelling numerous Tibetan invasions, the Shabdrung subdued the many warring feudal overlords and brought all of Bhutan under the influence of the Drukpa Kagyud School. His 35 year reign also saw the establishment of a nation-wide administration, aspects of which still endure, and the building of dzongs as easily defensible fortresses and seats of local government.

The Documented History Of The Kingdom Begins With 747 A.D. With Guru Padmasambhava Also Known As Guru Rinpoche Who Made His Legendary Trip From Tibet Across The Mountains Flying On A Tigress's Back. He Arrived In Paro Valley At Taktsang Lhakhang Also Known As Tiger's Nest. Guru Rinpoche Is Not Only Recognized As The Founder Of The Nyingmapa Religious School But Also Considered To Be Second Buddha.

Before The 16th Century, Numerous Clans And Noble Families Ruled In Different Valleys Throughout Bhutan, Quarrelling Among Themselves And With Tibet. This Changed In 1616 With The Arrival Of Ngawang Namgyal, A Monk Of The Drukpa Kagyu School Of Buddhism From Tibet. He Taught Throughout The Region And Soon Established Himself As The Religious Ruler Of Bhutan With The Title Shabdrung Rinpoche. In 1907 When Ugyen Wangchuck Was Elected, By A Unanimous Vote Of Bhutan's Chiefs And Principal Lamas, As Hereditary Ruler Of Bhutan. Thus The First King Was Crowned And The Wangchuck Dynasty Began. Over The Following Four Decades, He And His Heir, King Jigme Wangchuck, Brought The Entire Country Under The Monarchy's Direct Control. Upon Independence In 1947, India Recognized Bhutan As A Sovereign Country. The Third King, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, Is Regarded As The Father Of Modern Bhutan Because Of The Development Plans He Initiated. The Present Monarch, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, Has Continued The Policy Of Controlled Development With Particular Focus On The Preservation Of The Environment And Bhutan's Unique Culture. Among His Ideals Is Economic Self-Reliance And What He Nicknamed "Gross National Happiness".

Art And Craft:

Bhutanese art and craft represented by a plethora of 13 traditional arts and crafts have withstood the test of time. The Bhutanese artisans practiced these arts and crafts, collectively called Zorig Chusum since time immemorial which developed and flourished in response to the necessity of daily life in the country. The 13 arts and crafts include Lhazo (Thangka painting), Jimzo (sculpting), Parzo (carving),Yigzo (calligraphy), Shogzo (paper making), Lhugzo (casting),Tshemzo (embroidery),Thagzo (textile), Shingzo (carpentry), Dhozo (masonry),Tsharzo (bamboo weaving),Trozo (gold and silver smithy),and Garzo (black smithy).

Music And Dance:

Bhutan was first united in the 17th century, during the reign of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal (1594-1652);the same period saw a great blossoming of folk music and dance (cham).Instruments dating to this time include the lingm (flute),dramnyen (lute) and chiwang (fiddle).The influence of Drukpa Buddhism and Buddhist music on Bhutanese culture is important. Many folk songs and chanting styles are derived from Drukpa music.

Send An Inquiry

× Thank You! We will get back to you shortly.