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Know about the people of Bhutan, ethnic groups in Bhutan and Bhutanese people and their culture.







People of Bhutan

Bhutan has a sparse population, which largely lives in scattered villages amongst the Himalayan Mountains and terrains and is dependent on subsistence farming. They do terrace farming in steep hill slopes. In the lower regions, rice is the staple diet of the people while in other valleys; people usually eat wheat, buckwheat and maize. In the days of yore, communication means between different valleys were not so developed, so despite being a country of sparse population, Bhutan has many communities that developed a number of languages and dialects.

This is also the reason that Bhutanese people are very independent, quite hospitable, have a strong sense of individuality, are physically strong, have great humor and have open and frank nature. The difficult and formidable mountain passes make it difficult to commute from one valley to another and so people basically live in isolated groups. Three broad ethnic groups that Bhutanese people can be categorized into are:

  • Nepalese farmers who arrived at the end of the 19th century dominate southern Bhutan region. They are mostly Hindus and speak Nepalese language. Like Nepal, Hindus and Buddhists do not gel well with each other and tend to keep apart.
  • Drukpa people are mostly based in central Himalayan region of Bhutan. They are of Mongoloid origin and are spread over a wide area. Most of them are cattle breeders or farmers.
  • Semi-nomadic yak herdsmen occupy the northern Himalayan zone and live mostly at the altitudes above 3000 m or 9000 feet. They live in their black yak hair tents for most of the year and use dry stone walled houses to store their goods. However, they shift to these homes during the coldest months of the year. The main diet of these yak herdsmen consists of yak milk, cheese, butter and meat along with some additives such as barley, winter wheat and a few root vegetables that they grow in small fields.





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