People Society and Religion

People Society and Religion
The Bhutanese society

There is no class or caste system in Bhutan according to the royal edict issued by the Third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck in the 1950.

The most important thing to know about Bhutanese society is knowing and following Driglam Namzha. They are nothing but a set of written and known rules and etiquettes, that the society needs to follow. Like:

  • Wearing Scarf to Dzong
  • Greeting Elders
  • Marriage scarf felicitation.
  • Respecting and helping Monks


These norms have kept the Bhutanese society bound together in peace and harmony.


There are 18 different dialects in Bhutan. While the National Language is Dzongkha(Mostly spoken in western Bhutan). There are other native languages as well like Tshanglakha(Predominantly spoken Eastern Bhutan) Lhotshamkha (Southern Bhutan) alongside some tribal or regional languages as well. However, Now with tourism becoming a source of many in Bhutan English is making it stronghold there as well.

Fun/Past time activities in Bhutan:

  • Singing
  • Dancing
  • Archery Tournaments
  • Partying and Social gatherings

People of Bhutan can be broadly divided into 3  ethnic groups.

The Tshanglas

  • They are the natives of Eastern Bhutan Originally. According to the local legends, they are considered to be the descendants from Lord Brahma.
  • Their native language is Tshanglakha.
  • Occupation: Mostly farmers and animal husbandry. However the artist of Tshangla community make beautiful silk fabrics and woolen hand weaved clothes.

The Ngalops

  • They are considered to be of Tibetan origin. Originally settled in western Bhutan.
  • Their native language is Ngalopkha which is similar to Dzongkha(Bhutan’s National Language)
  • Occupation: Mostly farmers also Apples of this regions are quite famous and exported World wide. The artists of this regions are famous for their ornaments and dance forms.

The Lhotshampas

  • They are considered to be immigrants from Nepal in the early 19th century. Mostly settled in Southern parts of Bhutan’s foothills. In terms ofpopulation they are the most dominant of the three ethnic groups.
  • Their native language is Lhotshamkha, a form of Nepali language and their traditional belief is Hinduism.
  • Occupation: Agriculture is the primary source of income for the majority but instead of wheat and barley they cultivate more of cash crops like cardamom and ginger.

Apart from these ethnic group, only a small minority of population comprises of numerous groups like

  • the Bumthaps
  • the Khengpas
  • the Kurtoeps
  • the Brokpas
  • the Bramis
  • the Doyas
  • the Monpas

They are spread in all of Bhutan and their number varies from a few hundred to a couple of thousand at max. Despite being a country with abundance wildlife, natural and scenic beauty, the total population of Bhutan is around 0.73 mil. only.

Knowing the People

Buddhism came to Bhutan as early in the 8th century AD. with an Indian master Guru Padmasambhava. Today Bhutan is a Buddhist country, but other religions also exist peacefully like Hinduism and Bon(the religious belief before Buddhism). Bon consists of worshiping natural elements and animal sacrifice.

Every village has a priest through which people worship and practice Animistic traditions(Spirit Worship). It is also evident in their festivals and arts.  

Testimonials Sometimes a packaged holiday comes so much with a predefined set of takeaways, but The Destination Bhutan offered so much freedom of choice that it did not feel like a packaged holiday at all.

KH Zaman
Buffalo, New York

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