Until the late 19th century, Bhutan was a collection of small kingdoms ruled by warlords. The monarchy that exists today began unifying the country around that time Ugyen Wangchuck — who had served as the de facto ruler of an increasingly unified Bhutan and had improved relations with the British toward the end of the 19th century — was named king in 1907. Three years later, a treaty was signed whereby the British agreed not to interfere in Bhutanese internal affairs. [Source: CIA World Factbook, 2020]

Bhutan came into existence in 1907 when British political agent John Claude White suggested to Ugyen Wangchuck, a governor residing in the relatively stable district around Tongsa Dzong, to create a hereditary monarchy that would extend over land occupied by quarrelsome monks and governors of other districts. This plan became a reality when Wangchuck was elected as the counties first hereditary leader — the first Druk Gyalpo, or Dragon King.

Sir Ugyen Wangchuk, the most powerful of Bhutan's provincial governors, was supported by the British. He became the first of a hereditary line that would rule Bhutan. The Treaty of Punakha signed in 1910 doubled the annual British subsidy to Bhutan in return for an agreement to let Britain direct the country's foreign affairs. Though Bhutan behaved largely as a sovereign nation after the establishment of the monarchy, Britain treated Bhutan like a tributary.

Ugyen Wangchuck was crowned on December 17, 1907, and installed as the head of state. In 1910, as king, he and the British signed the Treaty of Punakha. When Ugyen Wangchuck died in 1926, his son Jigme Wangchuck became the next ruler, [Source: “Worldmark Encyclopedia of Cultures and Daily Life”, Cengage Learning, 2009]

Establishment of the Hereditary Monarchy in Bhutan in 1907

Ugyen Wangchuck's emergence as the national leader coincided with the realization that the dual political system was obsolete and ineffective. He had removed his chief rival, the ponlop of Paro, and installed a supporter and relative, a member of the pro-British Dorji family, in his place. When the last shabdrung died in 1903 and a reincarnation had not appeared by 1906, civil administration came under the control of Ugyen Wangchuck. Finally, in 1907, the fifty-fourth and last druk desi was forced to retire, and despite recognitions of subsequent reincarnations of Ngawang Namgyal, the shabdrung system came to an end. [Source: Andrea Matles Savada, Library of Congress, 1991 *]

In November 1907, an assembly of leading Buddhist monks, government officials, and heads of important families was held to end the moribund 300-year-old dual system of government and to establish a new absolute monarchy. Ugyen Wangchuck was elected its first hereditary Druk Gyalpo (Dragon King, reigned 1907-26). The Dorji family became hereditary holders of the position of gongzim (chief chamberlain), the top government post. The British, wanting political stability on their northern frontier, approved of the entire development.

Britain's earlier entreaties in Lhasa had unexpected repercussions at this time. The China, concerned that Britain would seize Tibet, invaded Tibet in 1910 and asserted political authority. In the face of the Chinese military occupation, the Dalai Lama fled to India. China laid claim not only to Tibet but also to Bhutan, Nepal, and Sikkim. With these events, BhutaneseBritish interests coalesced.

A new Bhutanese-British agreement, the Treaty of Punakha, was signed on January 8, 1910. It amended two articles of the 1865 treaty: the British agreed to double their annual stipend to 100,000 rupees and "to exercise no interference in the internal administration of Bhutan." In turn, Bhutan agreed "to be guided by the advice of the British Government in regard to its external relations." The Treaty of Punakha guaranteed Bhutan's defense against China; China, in no position to contest British power, conceded the end of the millennium-long Tibetan-Chinese influence.

Much of Bhutan's modern development has been attributed by Bhutanese historians to the first Druk Gyalpo. Internal reforms included introducing Western-style schools, improving internal communications, encouraging trade and commerce with India, and revitalizing the Buddhist monastic system. Toward the end of his life, Ugyen Wangchuck was concerned about the continuity of the family dynasty, and in 1924 he sought British assurance that the Wangchuck family would retain its preeminent position in Bhutan. His request led to an investigation of the legal status of Bhutan vis-à-vis the suzerainty held over Bhutan by Britain and the ambiguity of Bhutan's relationship to India. Both the suzerainty and the ambiguity were maintained.

Kings of Bhutan

Arthur Lubow wrote in Smithsonian Magazine: The monarchy in Bhutan began in 1907, when Ugyen Wangchuck — a well-born governor and general who restored peace and order to the country after a period of civil strife — was named the first king by a group of prominent fellow citizens. Jigme Singye Wangchuck ascended the throne in 1972 when he was only 16 and held power for 34 years. Educated in India and Britain, he is a distinctively Bhutanese blend of the traditional and the progressive: he has four wives (all sisters) and a passion for basketball. Abroad, he is best known for championing what he calls "Gross National Happiness" — emphasizing the value of cultural traditions and a clean environment, for example — over untrammeled development. [Source: Arthur Lubow, Smithsonian Magazine, March 2008]

According to the Bhutan government: Bhutan has been blessed with having a line of monarchs who were far-sighted and humble, and ruled the nation with the love any parent had for their child. Bhutan was founded by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel who unified Bhutan into one religious state in 1616. After his passing, Bhutan was governed by the Shabdrung’s recommended “dual system of government” where government control was split between a civil administrative leader (Druk Desi) and a religious leader (Je Kehnpo). Both the Druk Desi and the Je Khenpo were under the authority of the Shabdrung Rinpoche (the reincarnation of Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel). [Source:, April 9, 2015]

The dual system of government however ended with Jigme Namgyel’s descendant Ugyen Wangchuck. Jigme Namgyel’s family had direct lineage to the Pema Lingpa (famous saint) and relations with two rebirths of the Shabdrung Rinpoche. He was chosen to be the Penlop (Governor) of Trongsa and amongst all rulers, he was the most powerful, however he passed away unexpectedly before he had the chance to unify Bhutan through a monarchy system. Since 1907, Bhutan has been ruled by a monarchy. Each Bhutanese monarch has brought political stability to the country and implemented numerous reforms.

First King — Sir Ugyen Wangchuck (Reign: 1907 to 1926)

Gongsa Ugyen Wangchuck (1861-1926) succeeded his father, Jigme Namgyel as the Penlop (Governor) of Trongsa. He held his power base in Central Bhutan and unified Bhutan by defeating political enemies through a period of civil wars and rebellions in the early 1880s. During the years leading up to his monarchy, he developed close relations with the British by assisting with negotiations between Britain and Tibet. [Source:]

Ugyen Wangchuck was born in Wangducholing Palace, Bumthang in 1862 and died in 1926 in Thinley Rabten Palace, Phodrang. He was brought up in the court of his father Druk Desi Jigme Namgyal and was taught leadership and warfare skills at a very young age. At the age of 17, he led troops in the battle against the 20th Paro Penlop Tshewang Norbu. When Ugyen Wangchuck was 21, his father died and he became leader as the Penlop of Trongsa. In 1885 when he was 23 years old, he led 2400 troops in a series of battles that culminated in the battle Changlimethang, Changlimithang, where Ugyen Wangchuck scored a decisive victory that effectively made him the leader of Bhutan and unified it series of civil wars and rebellions between 1882 and 1885. [Source: Wikipedia]

In 1903 British representatives traveled through Bhutan on a mission to Tibet. Ugyen Wangchuk guided them on their journey and helped them to negotiate a treaty with Tibet. By acting as a mediator, Wangchuck won the respect of both the British and the Tibetans and enhanced his prestige among the Bhutanese.

To show their respect for him, the British knighted Gongsa Ugyen Wangchuck in 1904 and gave him the title of Knight Commander of the Indian Empire. He was more often known as Sir Ugyen Wangchuck following the bestow of the title and continued to receive honours from both the British and Indian governments as evidence of his ability to build diplomatic relations without sacrificing his nation’s sovereignty.

In the year 1907, more than 20 years after he became leader of Bhutan, Ugyen Wangchuck was elected to be the hereditary monarch of Bhutan, giving rise to Bhutan’s first King, and ending the dual system government. Ugyen Wangchuck was crowned on December 17, 1907 with the title Druk Gyalpo (Dragon King). During his 19 years reign, he continued to maintain close relations with Britain and India, as part of gaining security from the increasing chinese influence in Tibet. Other than that, Bhutan remained largely isolated from the rest of the world. Sir Ugyen Wangchuck passed away in 1926 and was succeeded by his eldest son Jigme Dorji Wangchuck.

Second King —Jigme Wangchuck (Reign: 1926 to 1952)

Bhutan's second king Jigme Wangchuck was crowned in 1926. The grandfather of the current king, he opened up the country to the outside world a little but is mainly known for maintaining Bhutan’s isolationist policies and linking his country's fortunes to India after the Chinese invaded Tibet in 1950. He abolished serfdom shortly after becoming king; limited polygamy to three wives per man; and built the country’s first highway in 1962. Painting of the coronation show emissaries bringing gifts of elephant tusks, leopard and tiger skins, guns, gems and rare fruit. [Source: "Bhutan" by John Scofield, National Geographic, November 1976]

Jigme Wangchuck was born in 1905 and ascended to the throne after the death of his father. He was raised from a child as the successor to the throne and received a strict education in English and Hindi and was schooled in Buddhist principles. As the second Druk Gyalpo, Jigme Wangchuck picked up the pace of his father's centralization and modernization efforts and built more schools, dispensaries, and roads.He created Bhutan's first public school in 1926, the first year of his reign, and repaired monasteries that had been damaged after fires, earthquakes, and centuries of wear and tear.

The King’s reign saw significant changes as he implemented administrative reforms within the country. He put in place a simple hierarchical system where he had absolute power over all matters religious and secular and appointed a head abbot (Je Khenpo) to setup a central religious administrative body. During King Jigme Wangchuck’s reign, Bhutan continued her journey of isolation with a focus on centralized power to ensure political stability in the country. King Jigme Wangchuck passed away in 1952 and he was succeeded by his son Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. [Source:]

Development of Centralized Government in Bhutan, 1926-52

During Jigme Wangchuck's reign, monasteries and district governments were increasingly brought under royal control. However, Bhutan generally remained isolated from international affairs. The issue of Bhutan's status vis-à-vis the government of India (was Bhutan a state of India or did it enjoy internal sovereignty?) was reexamined by London in 1932 as part of the issue of the status of India itself. It was decided to leave the decision to join an Indian federation up to Bhutan when the time came. [Source: Andrea Matles Savada, Library of Congress, 1991 *]

When British rule over India ended in 1947, so too did Britain's association with Bhutan. India succeeded Britain as the de facto protector of the Himalayan kingdom, and Bhutan retained control over its internal government. It was two years, however, before a formal agreement recognized Bhutan's independence.

Following the precedent set by the Treaty of Punakha, on August 8, 1949, Thimphu signed the Treaty of Friendship Between the Government of India and the Government of Bhutan, according to which external affairs, formerly guided by Britain, were to be guided by India. Like Britain, India agreed not to interfere in Bhutan's internal affairs. India also agreed to increase the annual subsidy to 500,000 rupees per year. Important to Bhutan's national pride was the return of Dewangiri. Some historians believe that if India had been at odds with China at this time, as it was to be a decade later, it might not have acceded so easily to Bhutan's request for independent status. *

Third King — Jigme Dorji Wangchuck (Reign: 1952 to 1972)

The third Druk Gyalpo, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, was enthroned in 1952. Earlier he had married the European-educated cousin of the chogyal (king) of Sikkim and with her support made continual efforts to modernize his nation throughout his twenty-year reign. Among his first reforms was the establishment of the National Assembly — the Tshogdu — in 1953. Although the Druk Gyalpo could issue royal decrees and exercise veto power over resolutions passed by the National Assembly, its establishment was a major move toward a constitutional monarchy. [Source: Andrea Matles Savada, Library of Congress, 1991]

According to the “Worldmark Encyclopedia of National Economies”: Jigme Dorji Wangchuc “is generally considered the "architect of modern Bhutan." In 1953 he established the National Assembly, consisting of representatives of the people, the civil service, and the Buddhist monastic order. The National Assembly met once a year to debate aspects of public policy and development. The Royal Advisory Council was formed by the king in 1965 to constantly monitor the progress of National Assembly resolutions and advise the king on day-to-day policy matters.” [Source: “Worldmark Encyclopedia of National Economies”, The Gale Group Inc., 2002 <=>]

King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk modernized Bhutanese society by abolishing slavery and the caste system, emancipating women, dividing large estates into small individual plots, and starting a secular educational system. In 1969 the absolute monarchy gave way to a "democratic monarchy." Although Bhutan no longer has a Dharma Raja, Buddhist priests retain political influence. The King’s reforms and international relations provided an opening for Bhutan to the outside world and started the slow but steady journey towards a system of democracy. [Source: Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed, Columbia University Press]

Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, born in 1929 in Thruepang Palace in Trongsa. At a young age, he was taught etiquette and leadership and was educated in English, Hindi and Buddhist principles at the court of his father King Jigme Wangchuck. Jigme Dorji Wangchuck was given a British-style education in Kalimpong, India. He spent six months in England during his youth and studied and traveled in Scotland, Switzerland and other foreign places from where he drew inspiration and got ideas and how to suitably develop Bhutan. In 1943, he was appointed Trongsa Dronyer and then elevated as the 25th Paro Penlop in 1950, upon the death of the 24th and previous Paro Penlop. Wangchuck married Ashi Kesang Choden Wangchuck (born 1930), the daughter of Gongzim (Lord Chamberlain) Sonam Topgay Dorji (1896–1953), in 1951. The royal wedding was held in Paro Garden Palace. The following year, Wangchuck became the King after his father died.

King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck is known as the Father of Modern Bhutan. He ascended to the throne at the age of 23. His coronation was held in Punakha Dzong on October 27, 1952 Under Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, Bhutan began to slowly emerge from its isolation and began a program of planned development. Bhutan became a member of the United Nations in 1971, and during his tenure the National Assembly was established and a new code of law, as well as the Royal Bhutanese Army and the High Court. King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck passed away in 1972 while receiving medical treatment in Nairobi, Kenya. He was succeeded by his son Jigme Sinye Wangchuck.

Relations with India and China under Jigme Dorji, 1952-72

When the Chinese communists took over Tibet in 1951, Bhutan closed its frontier with Tibet and sided with its powerful neighbor, India, to the south. Bhutan had negotiated a similar arrangement as it had with Britain with independent India in 1949. The Indo-Bhutanese Treaty of Friendship returned to Bhutan a small piece of the territory annexed by the British, formalized the annual subsidies the country received, and defined India's responsibilities in defense and foreign relations. Bhutan was watched over by India. Nehru visited Bhutan in 1958. Bhutan’s first 3,000 kilometers of roads was built by Indian crews in the early 1960s.

When the British relinquished gave up authority over India and India became an independent country in 1947, the new Indian Government recognized Bhutan as an independent country and Bhutanese and Indian leaders negotiated the Indo-Bhutan Treaty of Peace and Friendship of 1949. Both countries agreed to remain independent in internal affairs, but India pledged to protect and represent Bhutan in foreign affairs and to continue annual payments for the use of the Dewangiri region. In the 1960s, India helped Bhutan prepare economic plans to modernize the country and end its isolation.

When Chinese Communist forces occupied Tibet in 1950, Bhutan, because of its strategic location, became a point of contest between China and India. The Chinese claim to Bhutan (as part of a greater Tibet) and the persecution of Tibetan Buddhists led India to close the Bhutanese-Tibetan border and to build roads in Bhutan capable of carrying Indian military vehicles. [Source: Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed, Columbia University Press]

In 1959, China published maps of the Himalayan frontier with South Asia that showed as Chinese part of the territory claimed by Bhutan. In response, Indian prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru warned that an attack on Bhutan would be deemed an act of war against India. Fighting between India and China in Arunachal Pradesh, neighboring border region of India, in the fall of 1962 did not violate Bhutan's borders, although survivors from defeated Indian army units retreated back to India through Bhutan. In the 1960s, Bhutan formed a small army, trained and equipped by India. The kingdom's admission to the United Nations in 1971 was seen as strengthening its sovereignty, and by the 1980s relations with China had improved significantly. [Source: “Worldmark Encyclopedia of Nations”, Thomson Gale, 2007 =|=]

Modernization Efforts by Bhutan in the 1950s and 60s

In the early 1950s, Bhutan for the most part had no electricity, hospitals, paved roads, telephones, proper schools, a postal system, industry, diplomatic contact with the West, centralized education, airports, stop lights or currency. Trade and commerece was largely carried out by the barter system until the 1960s. All travel was by pony, yak or on foot. There were no wheeled vehicles, not even bicycles. The journey from the Indian border to Thimphu — a distance of 200 kilometers — required six days of hard walking. The only contact with the outside world was by agents from the government of India that made an eight-day trek there once of every three years,

The modernization process was prompted in part by China’s annexation of Tibet in the 1950s and was carried out with the help of India.In 1962, Bhutan finished building its first paved road, opened its first post office, opened its first modern school and first hospital and switched on its first electric light. Monasteries gave up land and their feudal hold over some people in exchange for financial support from the government.

Jigme Dorji Wangchuck oversaw many positive changes in Bhutan. He supported the creation of Bhutan's postal system, introduced long-range economic planning and welcomed trained medical personnel into Bhutan. To offset the chance of Chinese encroachment, Bhutan began a modernization program. Land reform was accompanied by the abolition of slavery and serfdom and the separation of the judiciary from the executive branch of government. Mostly funded by India after China's invasion of Tibet in 1959, the modernization program also included the construction of roads linking the Indian plains with central Bhutan. [Source: Andrea Matles Savada, Library of Congress, 1991 *]

An all-weather road was completed in 1962 between Thimphu and Phuntsholing, the overland gateway town on the southwest border with India. Dzongkha was made the national language during Jigme Dorji's reign. Additionally, development projects included establishing such institutions as a national museum in Paro and a national library, national archives, and national stadium, as well as buildings to house the National Assembly, the High Court (Thrimkhang Gongma), and other government entities in Thimphu. In the 1960s, Bhutan's advance toward modernization and the end of its insularity were accelerated by economic plans prepared and underwritten by India. *

In one generation Bhutan leapt from a medieval society into a modern one. In 1956, serfdom was abolished and some land was loaned but not given to the poorest peasants in five-acre parcels along with fertilizer, seeds, and tools. The goal was to help the people who had neither land or landlords. It was decided not to go after the big landowners because they provide the system which maintained the livelihood of thousands of people.

Political Reforms in Bhutan in the 1950s and 60s

After taking the throne in 1952, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, initiated a series of political reforms that reduced the powers of the monarch. In 1953, he instituted a constitutional monarchy and created a National Assembly — the tshogdu, with 151 members, the nation’s first legislative body, and established the post of prime minister and established the Royal Advisory Council in 1965, responsible for advising the king on governmental matters and regulating the policies of the National Assembly. In 1968, the country’s first Council of Ministers was formed and given the authority to implement government policy. The King set up a modern judicial system and gave the National Assembly the power to remove the King or his successors with a two third majority. At that time the Bhutanese government did not allow the formation of political parties. [Sources:; “Cities of the World”, The Gale Group Inc., 2002]

The position of gongzim, held since 1907 by the Dorji family, was upgraded in 1958 to lonchen (prime minister) and was still in the hands of the Dorji. Jigme Dorji Wangchuck's reforms, however, although lessening the authority of the absolute monarchy, also curbed the traditional decentralization of political authority among regional leaders and strengthened the role of the central government in economic and social programs. [Source: Andrea Matles Savada, Library of Congress, 1991 *]

In 1966, to increase the efficiency of government administration, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck made Thimphu the year-round capital. In May 1968, the comprehensive Rules and Regulations of the National Assembly revised the legal basis of the power granted to the National Assembly. The Druk Gyalpo decreed that henceforth sovereign power, including the power to remove government ministers and the Druk Gyalpo himself, would reside with the National Assembly. The following November, the Druk Gyalpo renounced his veto power over National Assembly bills and said he would step down if two-thirds of the legislature passed a no-confidence vote. Although he did nothing to undermine the retention of the Wangchuck dynasty, the Druk Gyalpo in 1969 called for a triennial vote of confidence by the National Assembly (later abolished by his successor) to renew the Druk Gyalpo's mandate to rule. [Source: Andrea Matles Savada, Library of Congress, 1991 *]

According to the “Gale Encyclopedia of World History: Governments”: “In 1968, in an attempt to consolidate support, Wangchuck issued an edict that changed the balance of power in the government: He granted the National Assembly the power to remove executive officers or the king by a two-thirds no-confidence vote. Though a formal constitution would not be written until the twenty-first century, the third druk gyalpo is often credited with taking the first steps toward democratization. [Source: “Gale Encyclopedia of World History: Governments”, Thomson Gale, 2008]

Political Upheaval and Assassination in Bhutan in the 1960s

Modernization efforts moved forward in the 1960s under the direction of the lonchen, Jigme Palden Dorji, the Druk Gyalpo's brother-in-law. He initiated reforms that reduced the political influence of the Bhutanese Royal Army (BRA) and the state’s religious lobby. In 1962, Dorji incurred disfavor with the Royal Bhutan Army over the use of military vehicles and the forced retirement of some fifty officers. Religious elements also were antagonized by Dorji's efforts to reduce the power of the state-supported religious institutions. In April 1964, while the Druk Gyalpo was in Switzerland for medical care, Dorji was assassinated in Phuntsholing by an army corporal. The majority of those arrested and accused of the crime were military personnel and included the army chief of operations, Namgyal Bahadur, the Druk Gyalpo's uncle, who was executed for his part in the plot. [Source: Andrea Matles Savada, Library of Congress, 1991 *]

The unstable situation continued under Dorji's successor as acting lonchen, his brother Lhendup Dorji, and for a time under the Druk Gyalpo's brother, Namgyal Wangchuck, as head of the army. According to some sources, a power struggle ensued between pro-Wangchuck loyalists and "modernist" Dorji supporters. The main issue was not an end to or lessening of the power of the monarchy but "full freedom from Indian interference."

The assassination of the long-time prime minister, Jigme Dorji, revealed some of the divisions fissures between the ruling elite and a growing split between loyalists and modernists within the central government.A few of the plotters escaped to Nepal. Some observers believe the 1964 crisis was not so much a policy struggle as competition for influence on the palace between the Dorji family and the Druk Gyalpo's Tibetan mistress, Yangki, and her father. Nevertheless, with the concurrence of the National Assembly, Lhendup Dorji and other family members were exiled in 1965. The tense political situation continued, however, with an assassination attempt on the Druk Gyalpo himself in July 1965. The king’s guards stopped the assassination attempt and a number of government officials were removed from their posts and exiled. The Dorjis, however, were not implicated in the attempt, and the would-be assassins were pardoned by the Druk Gyalpo. *

According to the “Worldmark Encyclopedia of Cultures and Daily Life”: The political crisis of 1964-1965 compelled the king to forge an alliance between him and the traditionalists and abandon his efforts at modernization. The integration of diverse ethnic and cultural groups into the Bhutanese state was forgotten, and Bhutan became dominated by the Ngalong (Dzongkha-speaking Bhutanese). At this time, the king ruled as a constitutional monarch, although there was a 152-seat national assembly, the Tsongdu, with many of its members elected by popular (though indirect) vote. The king appointed the prime minister, the Cabinet, and a number of delegates to the Tsongdu. Religious groups also appointed a number of representatives to nonelective assembly seats. [Source: “Worldmark Encyclopedia of Cultures and Daily Life”, Cengage Learning, 2009]

Foreign Policy under Jigme Dorji, 1952-72

Bhutan joined the United Nations in 1971 and slowly began engaging with the outside world. Up until 1949, Britain handled Bhutan's external affairs. In 1949, India took over that responsibility. The occupation of Tibet by Chinese forces in 1950 strengthened Bhutan's ties with India, as Bhutan looked to India for support, countering the Chinese threat. During the 1960s, Bhutan tossed out its traditional isolationist policies and began allowing foreigners into the country, albeit only at the invitation of the king. See Relations with India and China under Jigme Dorji, 1952-72 Above

King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck recognized the need to establish international relations and wanted the world to recognize Bhutan as a country but he also to protect his country’s sovereignty and protect its people from negative forces that existed outside his cocooned kingdom. .The King engaged foreign nations to help the development of Bhutan and invited European nations to be involved in developmental projects. In 1962, he joined the Colombo Plan where Bhutan received technical assistance for infrastructure development and educational scholarships. Tourism was inaugurated in 1974. [Source:]

Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons

Text Sources: New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Lonely Planet Guides, Library of Congress, Tourism Council of Bhutan (, National Portal of Bhutan, the Bhutan government’s main site (, The Guardian, National Geographic, Smithsonian magazine, The New Yorker, Time, Reuters, Associated Press, AFP, Wikipedia and various books, websites and other publications.

Last updated February 2022

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been authorized by the copyright owner. Such material is made available in an effort to advance understanding of country or topic discussed in the article. This constitutes 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. If you are the copyright owner and would like this content removed from, please contact me.