Bhutan Economy and Culture

By | September 3, 2021


According to a2zcamerablog, Bhutan is a country located in Asia. Bhutan is still a country structured on a feudal basis; the first hydroelectric power plant (in Thimphu) dates back to 1967 and admission to the Universal Postal Union in 1972. Although it has retained relative autonomy, it is economically and technically dependent on India, which has largely financed the various development plans of Bhutan, which also benefited from substantial aid from the other countries adhering to the Colombo Plan, especially the United States; since 1982 Bhutan has been a member of the Asian Development Bank. Social and economic development entailed, first of all, the construction of roads to connect with India and China, of hospitals and schools. The Seventh Development Plan (1992-97) set itself specific objectives: to develop internal resources; incentivize the private sector; favor decentralization and popular participation; develop human resources; adequately balance development within the individual regions of the country and, finally, guarantee national security. The eighth development plan (1997-2002), on the other hand, aimed at the expansion of industry and the hydroelectric sector; the ninth (2002-2007), finally, aimed at improving the quality of life, protecting the environmental and cultural heritage, promoting the private sector and increasing employment, as well as political and administrative reforms. Despite these interventions, the development incentives and the strong growth of national income since the last decades of the twentieth century, the country remains one of the poorest in the world: GDP per capita is just US $ 1,881 (2009), total GDP of US $ 1,269 million. § The economy remains mainly agricultural-pastoral-forestry: on the very limited arable land (5% of the national surface), rice, corn, barley, wheat, buckwheat, potatoes, fruit (oranges, apples), cardamom are grown, essentially for self-consumption.. § Livestock activity, although increased, concerns yaks, sheep, goats. With the development plans, a more rational use of agricultural land has been achieved, as well as a greater exploitation of forest resources. Small industries have also been created, especially textiles, wood (teak), building materials and for the processing of agricultural products and the production of traditional handicrafts, destined for export, has been favored. § In the secondary sector, despite the insufficient interest in mining activities, hydroelectric production (the main plant in Chukha) has taken on a certain importance, which since 1988 has allowed energy to be exported to India. This hydroelectric power station, however, has not yet stimulated the development of the industrial sector, as it was supposed it would. The data concerning the trade balance are always negative, the deficit situation of which now seems chronic: foreign trade takes place almost mainly with India, from which rice and naphtha are imported above all and to which cement, wood and, as is the case, are exported. it is said, electricity from the Chukha power plant. § Good income, however, comes from tourism, although it only began in 1974, first through the establishment of a government agency and then with the contribution of the private sector; the government’s intent is to monitor the entry of foreign visitors and to encourage responsible tourism in order to safeguard the great environmental and cultural heritage. The country, which attracts many tourists on the occasion of traditional religious festivals, it is in fact a destination for lovers of high altitude trekking. Paro is home to the only international airport; the main road arteries connect the country to India and connect the major cities.


The two majority components of Bhutanese society, Tibetan and Nepalese, are poorly integrated with each other: the main ethnic group, that of the bothia, practices Buddhism and speaks the official language, Dzongkha, a Tibetan- Arman variant of Sinotibetan while the Nepalese are mostly Hindus. The religious element, in particular that linked to the Buddhist tradition, touches all aspects of the cultural life of Bhutan: art and architecture, crafts, music, dance. The custody and transmission of the centuries-old Bhutanese culture are entrusted to the monasteries; around these places the population gathers on the occasion of the feasts (tsechu), linked to religious celebrations.


Respect for ancient traditions is one of the cornerstones of the Bhutanese monarchy and over time has favored the maintenance of national identity. Women are required to wear the kira, a long robe which, depending on the colors, fabrics and decorations, identifies people of different ranks. Men wear the gho, a kind of knee-length jacket tightened at the waist with a belt. The feasts (tsechu), which take place in the dzongs near the monasteries and last several days, are aimed at transmitting moral and religious education. During the performances (cham), the monks, dressed in traditional clothes and with their faces covered by large colored masks, dance to the sound of drums, cymbals and horns. The dramyin (or dranyen), a guitar-like instrument, often accompanies zhungdra and boedra, the traditional musical genres. Bhutanese cuisine includes dishes based on red rice, wheat, meat – consumed in modest quantities – pork, chicken, beef, yak and uses spices. From the yak, in addition to meat, cheese and butter are also obtained, used for the preparation of the typical Tibetan tea. Hindus, present among the Nepalese minority, do not eat meat, especially beef.


The ancient fortresses (dzong) are the highest examples of Bhutanese architecture, among which that of Paro, the Rinchen Pung Dzong (“fortress on a heap of jewels”) and the Trashi Chhoe Dzong of Thimpu (“fortress of religion glorious “). These are large structures for defensive, religious and administrative purposes that rise in a strategic position on the valleys; the oldest date back to the century. XII. There are also numerous chorten or stupas in the area, domed religious buildings that contain sacred objects and relics. The monasteries keep within them the products of Bhutanese fine craftsmanship made of wood, bronze, silver and other metals such as Buddha statues, icons of saints, bells, jewels, tankhas and mandalas.

Bhutan Economy and Culture