Geography of Bhutan

The Kingdom of Bhutan is a small land-locked mountainous nation located in the eastern Himalaya Mountains, north of India and south of China. The terrain is mostly mountainous with some fertile valleys.It is a country with a strong ancient Buddhist culture and almost completely cut off for centuries to avoid foreign influences. The Kingdom of Bhutan has remained a mystery until half a century ago. It is now well known for its culture and architecture. Its isolation, domestic policies and decision to limit tourism have helped to protect its culture and its natural beauty. Therefore, Bhutan is often referred to as the

Last Shangri-la and the crown jewel of the Himalayas. We call ourselves as Drukpa and the country Druk Yul.

Bhutan began to open up very slowly to outsiders in the 1970s. Bhutan has pursued a cautious policy of modernization while retaining a significant agriculture-based economy. Agriculture employs about 64.2% of the workforce (2006) and accounted for 21.4% of GDP in 2006. Tourism is Bhutan largest hard-currency earner. There is very little heavy industry. Apart from a cement plant, chemical plant and a timber factory, most manufacturing is via small-scale local industries. The export of hydro-electric power to India is a growing industry and is the single most important source of revenue. Bhutan has an estimated hydro-power potential of around 30,000 MW of which so far only about 2,500 MW is exploited. India is by far the largest market for Bhutan’s exports and is still a significant source of development aid. A new Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Policy is now in place which puts priority on FDI in the areas of tourism, educational facilities and hydro-power.

Bhutan is divided into 20 districts or dzongkhags each headed by a district officer. Larger dzongkhags are further divided into sub-districts called dungkhags. A group of villages are grouped to form a constituency called gewog, administered by a locally elected leader entitled a gup. There are 201 elected gups. In 2002, the National Assembly created a new structure for local governance at the geog level. Each local area is responsible for creating and implementing its own development plan, in coordination with the district.