bhutan Study Tour Package
The Bhutan Study Tour package essentially puts together a series of talks on different topics on Bhutan’s ancient Buddhist heritage, culture and its development philosophy of Gross National Happiness. Below is a general outline on some of the topics on which talks will be given.
Bhutan and Buddhism
- Bhutan is a stronghold Vajrayana Buddhism first introduced by Guru Padmasambhava (lotus born) in the 8th century. Although Buddhism practiced in Bhutan originated in Tibet, it differs significantly in its rituals, liturgy, and monastic organisation.
Gross National Happiness
- Bhutan’s development philosophy is Gross National Happiness (GNH), which takes a more holistic approach to development rather than measuring progress in terms of production of goods and services only as is the case with GDP.
First declared by the Fourth King in the late 70s in response to a question by a journalist on Bhutan’s status as a financially poor country GNH believes that material development alone is not enough for the happiness of citizens.
As a national policy GNH is about creating the conditions where citizens can pursue happiness. Its four central pillars are: good governance, sustainable development, preservation of the environment, preservation of culture. GNH, in the words of the present King is development with values.
- Bhutanese culture is deeply influenced by Buddhism so religion and culture are not two distinct identities in Bhutan. The expressions of Bhutanese culture can be seen in its architecture, textiles, art and craft, elaborate ceremonies and festivals, languages and everyday life of the people. Bhutanese people have deeply held religious beliefs like the law of karma and the cycle of rebirth. Its architectural influences can be traced to Tibet but with a distinctive Bhutanese style that has evolved over the centuries. Bhutan’s artistic tradition is best reflected in the Zorig Chusum or the 13 traditional arts and crafts, which include calligraphy, painting, sculpture carving, applique, pottery, smithy and masonry among others. Bhutanese wear the national dress at schools, government institutions and when visiting temples and monasteries and on formal occasions. The male dress is known as Gho, which is like a flowing robe hiked up to the knee and held at the waist by woven belt. The female dress is known as the Kira. It is an ankle length dress and consists of a fabric in a rectangular piece that is wrapped and folded around the body and held at the waist by a cloth belt. The kira is worn with a wonju and outside jacket known as tego.
Sport and food
- Archery is the national sport and matches are more of a social occasion than a competition. Other traditional sports that Bhutanese play during holidays are Khuru (dart) and Dego. Rice is staple diet in the southern and western regions. People in the central and the northern regions also cultivate wheat, buckwheat, barely and maize. Bhutanese also consume a good quantity of dairy products and enormous amounts of chilies. In fact, Ema Datshi (which means chili and cheese,) is regarded as the national dish, which a few brave tourists try out to get the full flavour of Bhutan.