A prince is born

On February 5, the King and Queen of Bhutan had their first baby, a boy. King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck is very loved and respected by the people of Bhutan. The monarchy in Bhutan was set up in 1907. King Jigme is the 5th King of the country since then, and is 35 years old. Bhutan had been a monarchy until 2008. At that time, King Jigme gave up his absolute powers. The prime minister is now the head of the country’s government.

Bhutan, a small country nestled in the Himalayas between India and China, is referred to as the “Land of the Thunder Dragon” because of the very strong storms that strike the nation. Bhutan is very scenic, with lots of mountains, rivers, gorges, and forests. A landmark of Bhutan is the Taktsang Palphug Monastery, also known as The Tiger’s Nest (image). It is a Buddhist sacred site and temple complex near the town of Paro, and was built in the late 1600s. The country’s capital city is Thimphu, and its national language is Dzongkha.

Tourists were not allowed into the nation until the 1970s. Bhutan was one of the last countries to introduce the television; they didn’t have it until 1999. There is a strong emphasis on traditions. Bhutanese are required to wear their national dress in many public places and events. Men wear “gho”, a knee-length robe that is wrapped around, and women wear “kira”, which is an ankle-length dress. Bhutan actually measures something called Gross National Happiness – a way to keep track of how happy and satisfied the citizens are. Archery is the country’s national sport. “Ema Datshi” is a popular food dish in the country and is made with chilies and cheese. Bhutan’s national animal is the takin (image), a relative of the sheep. The takin warns others in the herd if it senses danger with a loud “cough”. Here is a video about Bhutan.

Did you know?

Paro Airport, the international airport in Bhutan, is known for being amongst the most difficult airports in the world for landings and takeoffs. This is because tall, steep mountains surround the airport which has a short runway.

Image Credits: https://www.facebook.com/KingJigmeKhesar for the King and Queen’s image, http://www.tourism.gov.bt/ for the takin’s image, Douglas J. McLaughlin for the Tiger’s Nest image
Sources: https://www.facebook.com/KingJigmeKhesar, http://www.tourism.gov.bt, CIA World Factbook, BBC, http://animals.sandiegozoo.org, http://www.ibtimes.com, http://www.parotaktsang.org, http://www.dailymail.co.uk