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Geography of Bhutan


Bhutan is a landlocked South Asian country. Covering an area of around 46,500 square kilometers and has population of 650,000 with seventy five percent of the population living on cultivation and livestock rearing.


It stretches 300 km from East to West, while the North-South axis is around 140 km.

On its boundaries to the East, West and south lie the Indian states of Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and West Bengal/Assam respectively while to the north lies Tibet's Chumbi valley,sandwiched between North Bhutan and Sikkim.

There is no definitive version of how the country got its name-the most common interpretation is that it is derived from Bhot-stan,the land of the Bhotias(in the ancient Indian language Sanskrit,people orginally from Tibet were called 'bhotia').

This was later corrupted by the early British explorers to Bootan or Bhotan.

Another theory suggests that the name evolved from Bhotanta(end of Tibet) or from Bhu-uttan meaning "highland".

In the Dzongkha language Bhutanese refer to their country as Druk Yul(Land of Thunder Dragon)and themselves as Drukpas.

Bhutan's physical geography consists mostly of steep and high mountains criss-crossed by a network of swift rivers,which form deep valleys before draining into the Indian plains.

The land rises from 200 meters in the southern foothills to 7000 meters high northern mountains.

The country can be divided into three major geographic zones: the southern foothills and plains with hot and humid climate, the hills and valleys in the center with moderate rainfall and the highland of the north with high mountains covered with snow almost through out the year.

Bhutan is the land of complex gorges and valleys, soaring snow-peaked mountains and steep slopes, humid jungles and foothills, magnificent lakes and waterfalls, fast flowing rivers and streams and the richest biodiversity of flora and fauna.