It is a great source of pride for all Bhutanese that the kingdom with an area of just over 38,000 square kilometres, and a population of just over 0.6 million, has never been colonized in its long history. Thanks in part to the rugged terrain and the farsighted policies of the kings of Bhutan, who have played a key role in the emergence of Bhutan as a leader in the field of environment conservation and the preservation of its unique cultural heritage.
Bhutan is a small country in size and population. However, it is blessed with the most diverse and spectacular physical beauty. North to the south in a span of just about fifty kilometers, the country boasts of the mighty Himalayan Mountains in the north, the temperate valley in the centre, and the lush subtropics in the south. This has not only allowed for a wide range of flora and fauna to flourish but also enriched the country with many local dialects and customs.
In this well insulated and protected land, Vajrayana Buddhism took roots in the 8th century and continues to inspire the Bhutanese to live their lives based on the principles of compassion, tolerance, and moderation.
In the early 1980s, His Majesty Fourth King of Bhutan Jigme Singye Wangchuk, recognizing the importance of balancing material and spiritual development came up with the concept of Gross National Happiness (GNH). Today GNH is our official development philosophy of Bhutan. It rests on the flour pillar, all given equal importance. Economic development, good governance, environment conservation, and the preservation and promotion of culture.
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