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Religion

Buddhism is practiced through out the country. All most all the Bhutanese are Buddhist. In the south, most Bhutanese people of Nepali and Indian origin practiced Hinduism. Yeshi Gonpo or Mahakahala is the main protective deity of Bhutan, often appears in the form of Raven.

Before the arrival of Buddhism to Bhutan, various forms of animistic religion such as bonism were followed by people in Bhutan. In some parts of the country, we can still see, these traditions and rituals are still practiced by minority groups.

Guru Rinpoche brought Buddhism to Bhutan in 8th century. After this, Bhutan has become home to many sages and saints. Some of the key figures of the Bhutanese Buddhism are Kuenkhen Longchen Ramjam, Phojo Drukgom Zhigpo, Drukpa Kuenley, Zhabdrung Ngwang Namgyel and Gyalse Tenzin Rabgye.

The official state religion of Bhutan belongs to the Drukpa sect of Kagyudpa, school of tantric Mahayana Buddhism, the Great Vehicle. It is similar to the Tibetan Buddhism, yet it has its own set of unique beliefs and practices.

The religion in Bhutan is strongly supported by the all walks of life. Monks, nuns and gomchens (lay priest) play a very important role in the people’s daily lives. The monk body also includes monks, nuns and gomchens who are not part of state sponsored institutions.

Bhutanese people are very pious and the importance of the Buddhism is evident in its every aspect of life in the Bhutanese people.

People

The Bhutanese people are a good –natured, friendly and hospitable people. The geographical nature of the country led to the formation of many scattered communities through out Bhutan. Bhutanese people are a homogenous group broadly divided into three broad subgroups. They are Ngalongs from the west, Scharshops from the east and the Lhotsampas, who are of the ethnic Nepali origin, from the south. Besides there are number of smaller groups, who have lived in isolation in their own communities for many years keeping their traditional practice alive. Some of these groups are: Layaps in the North West, the semi nomads of Merak Sakten in the north east and Doyas in south west Bhutan.

Language

The National language of Bhutan is Dzongkha and literally Dzongkha means the language spoken in the Dzongs and administrative centers in all the districts of Bhutan. But the Dzongkha was the language spoken by the people of Western Bhutan.


Besides these, there are two major languages spoken by the people of Bhutan. They are Sharchokpa, language spoken in the eastern Bhutan and the Nepali, language spoken in the southern Bhutan. There are also as many as nineteen major dialects or languages which have survived in the country, in the isolated villages and valleys which are cut of from neighboring areas by high mountains barriers.
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