People and Culture


Buddhism is deeply rooted in Bhutan's culture, governance, and daily life. Bhutan, nestled in the Himalayas, is known as a stronghold of Vajrayana Buddhism. Introduced in the 8th century by Guru Rinpoche, it's the official religion, closely tied to the monarchy. The state actively supports Buddhist institutions and festivals, with the Central Monastic Body playing a vital role. Bhutanese Buddhism is rich in rituals and festivals like "tshechus," where monks perform masked dances to honor Buddhist history and foster community bonds. The country's landscape boasts numerous monasteries and sacred sites, including the iconic Taktsang Monastery. Buddhism in Bhutan also emphasizes environmental conservation and Gross National Happiness, focusing on citizens' well-being. Despite modernization, Buddhism remains a cornerstone of Bhutanese identity and shapes its values and traditions.

National Dress

The traditional dress code of Bhutan, known as the "kira"for women and "gho" for men , holds significant cultural and social importance. The kira is an elegant and intricately woven ankle-length dress, typically worn with a colorful, handwoven jacket called a "tego" and a silk blouse underneath. Women also adorn themselves with vibrant scarves known as "rachu" draped over their shoulders. On the other hand, men wear the gho, a knee-length robe secured with a belt called a "kira." The gho is often paired with knee-high socks and leather shoes. Both the kira and gho display intricate patterns and designs that reflect Bhutanese heritage and craftsmanship. This traditional attire is not only a symbol of national identity but also serves as a unifying force, fostering a sense of community and pride among the Bhutanese people. Even in modern times, the kira and gho remain widely worn during formal occasions, festivals, and everyday life, preserving Bhutan's rich cultural heritage.

National Flower

The national flower of Bhutan is the Blue Poppy (scientific name: Meconopsis grandis). This beautiful flower is native to the Himalayan region and is known for its striking blue color. It holds great significance in Bhutanese culture and is often considered a symbol of the country's unique biodiversity and natural beauty. The Blue Poppy can be found in various regions of Bhutan, particularly in high-altitude areas, adding to the country's charm and allure for nature lovers and travellers alike.

National Animal

The national animal of Bhutan is the Takin, scientifically known as Budorcas taxicolor. This unique and fascinating creature holds a special place in Bhutanese culture and ecology, embodying both strength and tranquility. The Takin is a large mammal native to the Eastern Himalayas, found in regions of Bhutan, China, India, and Myanmar. It possesses a distinctive appearance, resembling a cross between a goat and a cow, with a stocky body, short legs, and a thick, shaggy coat. Its appearance has led to various local legends and beliefs, contributing to its cultural significance. In Bhutanese folklore, the Takin is revered as a symbol of strength, resilience, and harmony with nature. Legends tell of a divine creation involving a saintly monk who assembled the creature from the leftover parts of other animals, demonstrating a spiritual connection to the land and its inhabitants.

National Sport

The national sport of Bhutan is archery. In Bhutanese culture, archery is not merely a sport but a deeply ingrained tradition that holds significant cultural, social, and even spiritual value. It reflects the essence of Bhutanese identity and serves as a vibrant expression of community and camaraderie. Archery has been practiced in Bhutan for centuries, with historical records indicating its prevalence even in the times of ancient kings. Today, it remains an integral part of Bhutanese life, celebrated in festivals, weddings, and other social gatherings. Traditional Bhutanese archery involves two teams, each comprising around 13 to 15 members. The distance between the two targets, typically placed 140 meters apart, is quite challenging compared to standard international archery competitions. One of the distinctive aspects of Bhutanese archery is the lively atmosphere that surrounds it. Spectators gather around the field, cheering for their favorite teams, singing traditional songs, and engaging in friendly banter. Traditional Bhutanese music, including drums and trumpets, adds to the festive ambiance.

National Bird

The national bird of Bhutan is the Raven. This majestic bird holds significant cultural and spiritual importance in Bhutanese society, embodying both mythological symbolism and ecological significance. In Bhutanese folklore, the Raven holds a revered status, often depicted as a divine messenger and companion to various deities. It plays a central role in many traditional stories, symbolizing wisdom, protection, and guidance. Bhutan's spiritual heritage, deeply rooted in Buddhism, further elevates the Raven's significance, with legends depicting it as a guardian of sacred sites and a harbinger of good fortune. Beyond its cultural significance, the Raven serves as an ecological indicator of Bhutan's pristine mountain ecosystems. As an apex predator, it helps maintain the balance of local wildlife populations by scavenging and controlling smaller animal populations. Furthermore, its presence in Bhutan's high-altitude forests underscores the country's commitment to environmental conservation and biodiversity preservation. In 1995, Bhutan officially declared the Raven as its national bird, recognizing its cultural, spiritual, and ecological importance. This symbolic gesture reflects the nation's deep-rooted connection to its natural heritage and underscores the importance of coexistence between humans and the natural world.

National Tree

The national tree of Bhutan is the Cypress tree, known locally as "Cupressus torulosa". This majestic evergreen tree holds significant cultural and ecological importance in Bhutanese society. In Bhutan, the Cypress tree symbolizes longevity, resilience, and the enduring bond between nature and Bhutanese culture. It is often found in sacred groves, monastic compounds, and alongside important religious sites throughout the country. Its presence in these places reflects its deep spiritual significance and its association with Bhutan's rich Buddhist heritage. The Cypress tree also plays a vital role in Bhutan's ecosystem. It thrives in the country's varied terrain, including mountainous regions and valleys, providing essential habitat and food for numerous species of wildlife. Additionally, its dense foliage helps stabilize soil, prevent erosion, and maintain ecological balance in Bhutan's fragile ecosystems. Beyond its ecological and cultural significance, the Cypress tree holds practical value for the Bhutanese people. Its durable wood is utilized in traditional architecture, such as constructing temples, monasteries, and Dzongs (fortresses). The timber is also used for crafting furniture, household items, and religious artifacts, showcasing the tree's versatility and utility in Bhutanese society.


Bhutanese currency, the Ngultrum (symbol: Nu, code: BTN), reflects the unique cultural and economic identity of the Kingdom of Bhutan. The Ngultrum is pegged to the Indian Rupee (INR) at par, meaning that the value of one Ngultrum is equal to one Indian Rupee. This currency arrangement helps stabilize Bhutan's economy and facilitates trade with its neighbor, India. The Ngultrum is issued and regulated by the Royal Monetary Authority of Bhutan (RMA), which acts as the central bank of the country. It oversees monetary policy, manages currency circulation, and maintains financial stability. The RMA ensures that the Ngultrum remains robust and reliable for both domestic transactions and international exchanges. In terms of design, Bhutanese banknotes feature vibrant colors and intricate patterns that often depict the country's rich cultural heritage, natural landscapes, and significant historical figures. These designs not only serve aesthetic purposes but also contribute to fostering a sense of national pride and identity among Bhutanese citizens.