The Kingdom of Bhutan is located in remote part of eastern Himalayas, a landlocked country between India and Tibet. Druk yul is popular name for Bhutan among Bhutanese people it means “land of thunder dragon”.
Bhutan was once one of the most isolated countries in the world. Developments including direct international flights, the Internet, mobile phone networks, and cable television have increasingly modernized the urban areas of the country. Bhutan balanced modernization with its ancient culture and traditions under the guiding philosophy of Gross National Happiness (GNH). Fervent protection of the environment has been a top priority. The government takes great measures to preserve the nation’s traditional culture, identity and the environment. In 2006, Business Week magazine rated Bhutan the happiest country in Asia and the eighth-happiest in the world, citing a global survey held by the University of Leicester in 2006 called the “World Map of Happiness”.
Bhutan’s landscape ranges from subtropical plains in the south to the Sub-alpine Himalayan heights in the north, with some peaks exceeding 7,000 meters (23,000 ft). The state religion is Vajrayana Buddhism, and the population of 691,141 is predominantly Buddhist, with Hinduism being the second-largest religion. The capital and largest city is Thimphu. After centuries of direct monarchic rule, the King voluntarily abdicated himself for his son and devolved power to the people. Bhutan held its first democratic elections in March 2008 and Druk Phumtshum Tshogpa (Peace and Prosperous Party) won by a landslide margin (winning 45 out of the 47 seats). Among other international associations, Bhutan is a member of the United Nations and the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and hosted the Sixteenth SAARC summit in April 2010. The total area of the country is currently 38,394 square kilometers (14,824 sq miles).
“Bhutan” the name is said to be derived from the Sanskrit word Bhu-Utthan (highlands). In another theory of Sanskritisation, Bhoa-anta means “At the 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).