Faces Of Bhutan. I have traveled to Bhutan three times, approximately spending a month in the country. I have also worked with a local travel operator as a consultant for three years. If you need advice or help, planning a trip to Bhutan, please email me at Ric @ GlobalGaz.com
Part of the magic traveling to Bhutan is the people. They are friendly and easy going. And very photogenic.
Buddhist monks are a ubiquitous site in Bhutan, whether crossing the street in Thimpu or visiting one of the many monasteries in the country. The monks are wrapped in a deep burgundy robe with their heads shaved.
Approximately 75% of the population is Buddhist with Hinduism being the second most popular religion. Boys can join the monastery as young as 6 years old. Life in a monastery can be quite austere, especially at more remote monasteries with lack of heating, poor clothing, and inadequate food. Part of the process of a monk’s study is a silent retreat, traditionally lasting 3 years, 3 months, and 3 days. Ja Khenpu is the Chief Abbot of the Buddhists in Bhutan who oversees the Central Monastic Body.
Many Bhutanese still wear their traditional dress. The men wear a Gho. It is a knee-length robe that extends to the knee. The Gho, similar to a bathrobe, is tied at the waist with a traditional belt called a Kira. This belt forms a pouch which historically held a dagger and a bowl for food. Today, it is more common to find a wallet or a mobile phone. This is accompanied by knee high socks. The women wear a long ankle-length dress known as a Kira in conjunction with an outer jacket called a Tego.
Men also are required to don a long, flowing scarf when entering a Dzong (monastery/fort). The color of the scarf represents their status in life. So for instance, the King’s scarf is yellow. A commoner wears a white scarf.
The government require that the Bhutanese wear the traditional dress when at school or entering a government building.
Faces Of Bhutan.