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Religion in Bhutan

Population

Bhutan's population is unevenly distributed with the largest concentrations in the river valleys in the southwest and in the eastern regions around the town of Tashigang. The typical settlement type is small villages located in valleys and on mountain sides. Urbanization is very modest, and before 1960 there were no real cities.

Religions of Bhutan

According to Countryaah data, Bhutan's population is composed of a number of ethnic groups who, despite their long presence in the country, have retained their identity, e.g. in terms of language, clothing, lifestyle and religion. Over half of the population is made up of a Tibetan people, known locally as Bhutia. They live mainly in the central and northern parts of the country, where they are the dominant group. In the south and southwest there is a strong element of different Nepali groups, who speak Nepali and are Hindus (25 percent of the population). Many of these have in recent years moved to Nepal, where they live in camps. To the east are a number of Tibetan tribes, of which the best known are the monkey and the sherdup pen. Following the Chinese occupation of Tibet in 1949, the presence of a few thousand Tibetan refugees who refused to become Bhutanese citizens caused political problems.

Language

The official language is dzongkha, which is closely related to Tibetan. In writing, the Tibetan alphabet is used. A large Nepali minority speaks Nepali. Smaller groups of people mainly speak other Tibetan Burmese languages ​​and many immigrant groups of indigenous languages.

Religion

Religion in Bhutan is strongly influenced by Tibetan Buddhism (Lamaism), which spread in Bhutan in the 7th century and had its full effect in the 16th century. A Tibetan lama established himself there as a spiritual and worldly ruler and took over the classic Indian ruling title dharmaraja ('king of the court'). In the latter half of the 16th century he built several well-known monastery towns such as Spa-gro (Paro) and Punakha and also maintained monasteries in Sikkim. He was considered to be born into leading families until 1904, when the last dharmaraja passed away without finding his reincarnation.

In the present, worldly and spiritual power has been separated and Buddhism in Bhutan has come into contact with the modernist Maha Bodhi Society of India. Bhutan is a member of the World Fellowship of Buddhists.

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