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Bhutan
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"Bhutan" may be derived from the Sanskrit word Bhu-Utthan (highlands). In another theory of Sanskritisation, Bhots-ant means "End of Tibet", as Bhutan is immediately to Tibet's south.

Historically Bhutan was known by many names, such as Lho Mon (southern land of darkness), Lho Tsendenjong (southern land of the Tsenden cypress), Lhomen Khazhi (southern land of four approaches) and Lho Men Jong (southern land of medicinal herbs).

Bhutan, also known as the 'land of the thunder dragon,' is a monarchy without any written constitution. But from October 1969, the absolute monarchy was changed to a form of democracy.

Bhutan is perhaps one of the few pockets that remain of an adventure destinations hitherto untouched by modernisation – A Shangri-La. Situated in the Great Himalayan range, it is bordered by Tibet in the north & to its south by India. As a purely Buddhist country, it has a rich & unique culture, tradition & way of life which still remains pristine. Bhutan only permits 2000 tourists to visit each year as the King wishes to minimize the adverse effects of tourism. It is, therefore, important to plan well ahead if you wish to visit Bhutan.

Travelling in Bhutan is like being transported back to medieval time & age.

Official Name (Kingdom of Bhutan) Druk-Yul
Capital Thim-phu
Population 2.1 million
Area 46,500 sq km
Currency Ngultrum, fixed at par with the Indian rupee which is also a legal tender ($1= 46.48)
Religion Buddhism, Hinduism
Literacy 42%
Languages Dzongkha, Lhotsam (Nepali)
Major Cities Thimphu, Phuntsholing
Climate Varied climate
Physical Map of Bhutan
Bhutan is made up of three major land regions: in the north by the Great Himalayan region; in central Bhutan by the Middle Himalayan region; and the Duars, a plain along the southern border with India. The Great Himalayas radiate southward into central Bhutan, creating the Middle Himalayan zone. The Middle Himalayas consists of fertile valleys lying. The main rivers of Bhutan, from west to east, are the Torsa, Raidak, Sankosh, and Manas. Rising in the Great Himalayas, these rivers flow south through Bhutan to India. Flooding is a rare occurrence in the upper courses but can be a serious problem in the low-lying areas of the Duars. None of the rivers is navigable.

Flora And Fauna of Bhutan
Around 64 percent of Bhutan is made up of forests, which are located in the Middle Himalayan ranges and foothills of central and eastern Bhutan. Vegetation is mainly governed by the altitude, slope, moisture, and drainage and gives rise to deciduous woodlands in the south, mixed forests in central Bhutan, and coniferous forests in the north. As far as fauna is concerned, the northern part of the Duars, including the foothills is home to deer, tigers, and other wild animals.

Location of Bhutan
Bhutan is situated in the eastern Himalayas, on the Indian subcontinent and is bound on the north by the Tibet region of China, and to the south, east, and west by India

Climate of Bhutan
Various natural differences like varying altitudes, rain-bearing winds, etc cause variations in climate. The northern interior experiences severe winters and cool, temperate summers while the southern foothills and the Duars have a humid, tropical climate all year round. The capital, Thimphu, in west central Bhutan has average temperatures ranging from about -4?C (25?F) to about 16?C (61?F) in January and from about 15?C (59?F) to about 26?C.

Custom Regulations
The Bhutanese authorities strictly prohibit the export of any religious antiquity or antiques of any type. Cameras, video camera, computers and personal electronic equipment may be brought into the country but they must be listed on the customs form provided on arrival at Paro and will be checked at departure. Two liters of alcohol, 400 cigarettes and 150 grams of pipe tobacco may be brought into the country without any duty.

Currency
Bhutan's unit of currency is the Ngultrum (Nu), which is at par to the Indian Rupee (100 Chetrums = 1 Ngultrum). One US dollar is equivalent to approximately 45.50 Ngultrums*. Most major foreign currencies are accepted. Travellers cheques, American Express cards and Visa cards are also accepted in certain establishments. 

* Exchange rate pertains to May, 2006

Accommodation
Hotels vary in style and quality. All government approved hotels are clean and well maintained with hot and cold water facilities. All hotels are equipped with telephones, fax machines and international dialing.  

Food
Bhutanese food is a tantalizing blend of hot Himalayan flavors. The Bhutanese diet is rich in meat, diary, grain (particularly red rice) and vegetables. Emadatse (chilli and cheese stew) is a very popular dish. Most dishes whether vegetarian or non-vegetarian is lavishly spiced with chilli. Salted butter tea (suja) is served on all occasions. Chang, a local beer and Ara, a spirit distilled from rice, maize, wheat or barley is widely favored. Doma or betel nut is offered as a customary gesture of greeting.  Besides hotels also offer Continental, Chinese & Indian cuisine.   The food prepared for tourists is tempered according to individual tastes.

Clothing & Temperature
Bhutan's climate ranges from subtropical in the south to temperate in the central highlands to cold and even sub freezing in the north. The climate can be unpredictable and the temperature can vary dramatically. In Thimphu and Paro, the winter daytime temperature averages 12 degrees Celsius but drops well below freezing at night. Warm woolens are recommended in the winter and it is advisable to bring light sweaters or jackets even in the summer. Comfortable walking shoes are indispensable to all while trekkers should be equipped with strong boots and medium to heavy sleeping bags.

Photography & Filming
Photography is permitted nearly everywhere in Bhutan. However it is not permitted in the Dzongs (Fortresses) and monasteries. Any commercial filming in Bhutan requires prior permission to be sought from the Royal Government and the payment of a royalty. We will assist you with all the formalities.

Time
Bhutanese time is 6 hours ahead of GMT and half and hour ahead of the Indian Standard Time.
Bhutan Tour Package