History

Bhutan’s early history still remains shrouded in mystery, though it is a well-known fact that it is steeped in mythology and that Bonism was the prevalent widely accepted religion. The earliest known occupation in ancient Bhutan is believed to have been that of herding animals.

Bhutan is the only Buddhist Kingdom in the world. It is believed that Buddhism was introduced in the country in the 8th Century C.E. by Guru Padmasambhav who is believed to have arrived in Paro Valley from Tibet by flying on the back of a tigress. Also known as Guru Rinpoche, he is widely considered to be the second Buddha.

In the 17th Century, a Lama from Tibet, Ngawana Namgyal, consolidated his power by defeating three Tibetan invasions and established a comprehensive law and governance system. However, after his death the country went through a lot of unrest and civil wars between local rulers, till Trongsa Penlop Ugyen Wangchuk won the support and confidence of the people and was elected Bhutan’s first hereditary king in 1907. He was installed as the head of state Druk Gyalpo or Dragon King and set up the Wangchuk Dynasty that rules Bhutan to this day.

The present Druk Gyalpo, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuk, was crowned King in 2008 when Bhutan enacted its Constitution and converted itself into a democracy to safeguard the rights of its citizens.