Chapter 1 INTRODUCTION Bhutan - Druk Yul or The Land of the Thunder Dragon The Kingdom of Bhutan is a landlocked nation nestled in the eastern Himalayas, bordering China to the north and India to the south. With a total area of 38,394 sq.km and aerial distance of around 350km from east to west and around 150km from north to south. Bhutan lies between 88°45’ and 92°10’ longitude East and 26°42’ and 28°15’ latitude North. It is a mountainous country except for a strip of plains in the south. A fundamental characteristic of the country is that pronounced differences in nature and landscape come together within a small area. The valleys of Bhutan are separated by mountains ranging from 7200m to 100m from north to south and high passes ranging from 3000-3500m from west to east. Bhutan has three distinct ecological zones with sub-tropical in the south, temperate in the middle and subal-
pine in the north which corresponds with three different climatic zones. The variations in climate are therefore correspondingly extreme. The plains in the south have hot and humid summer with cool winter. The land here is covered with dense forests, alluvial lowland river valleys and the mountains rise up to 1500m. The hills and valleys in central and eastern Bhutan are temperate and drier than the west with warm summers and cool winters. It is cut off from the foothills, by high ranges of the Inner Himalayas with a succession of valleys at altitudes ranging from 1500m to 3500 m. The hillsides are thickly forested with blue pine, conifers, oak, magnolia maple, birch and rhododendron. The northern region with an alpine climate is perpetually under snow. Most peaks in the north are over 7,000m above sea level with the highest point being Gangkar Puensum at
4 X FACTS ABOUT BHUTAN
FACTS ABOUT BHUTAN X
BHUTAN AT A GLANCE Total Area
: 38,394 square kilometers (350km long and 150km wide approximately)
: Landlocked between China and India
: 100m above sea level in the south to over 7,500m above sea level in the north.
: 88°45’ - 92°10’ East
: 26°42’ - 28°15’ North
: Democratic Constitutional Monarchy
: 658,888: Male 345,298; Female 313,590.
Population growth rate
: 1.8 percent (2005)
Exchange rate (Sept. 08) : 1USD = Ngultrum 44.85 Forest coverage
: 72.5 percent of the land area
: 7.8 percent of total land
: 66 years (Male 66; Female 66.2)
: 59.5 percent (Male 69; Female 49)
: 6 hrs ahead of GMT
Natural Resources Minerals
: Dolomite, Limestone, Gypsum, Slate, Coal, Talc, Marble, Zinc, Lead, Copper, Tungsten, Chemical Grade Quartzite,Graphite, Iron Ore
: Rice, Maize, Wheat, Potato, Millet, Buckwheat, Orange, Apple, Cardamom
: An estimated potential of 30,000 MW with mean annual energy production capability close to 120,000 GWh.