NATIONAL SYMBOLS

 

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The national flag of Bhutan is divided diagonally into two equal halves. The upper yellow half signifies the secular power and authority of the king. The lower saffron-orange symbolizes the practice of religion and power of Buddhism, manifested in the tradition of Drukpa Kagyu. The white dragon signifies the purity of the country while the jewels in its claws stand for the wealth and perfection of the country.

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The national emblem
 is contained in a circle and is composed of a double diamond-thunderbolt or Vajra placed just above a lotus, surmounted by a jewel and framed by two dragons. The thunderbolts represent the harmony between secular and religious power while the lotus symbolizes purity. The jewel signifies the sovereign power while the dragons (male and female) represent the name of the country, DrukYul or the Land of the Dragon.

Closeup of two Takins (Musk Ox Relative)

The national animal is the Takin (Budorcas taxicolor), a rare mammal that is associated with Bhutanese religious history and mythology. It is found above 4000 meters on the north-western and far north-eastern parts of the country. Often considered to be a cross between a cow and a goat due to its physical appearance, this mystical animal feeds on bamboos. An adult takin can weigh over 200 kgs.

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The national bird is the Raven. It adorns the royal crown. The bird represents the deityGonpo Jarodongchen (raven-headed Mahakala), one of the chief guardian deities of Bhutan. It is believed that the guardian deity Mahakala took the form of a raven to guide the country’s unifier, Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, to Bhutan.

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The national sport of Bhutan is the Archery (Dha). Animated competitions, usually accompanied by a banquet, are a part of all festive occasions. In these contests, the two teams in traditional dress shoot at small wooden targets placed 140m apart (Olympic standard is 50m). Archery is played during religious and secular public holidays, local festivals (tshechu), between public ministries and departments, and between the dzongkhag(district) and the regional teams.

2115376_origThe national flower is the Blue Poppy (Meconopsis Grandis). It is a delicate blue or purple tinged blossom with a white filament that grows to a height of 1 meter. It is found above the tree (3500-4500 meters) on rocky mountain terrain. The flower was discovered in 1933 by a British Botanist, George Sherriff in remote part of Sakteng in eastern Bhutan.

tcb_031613_cypressThe national tree of Bhutan is the Cypress (Cupressus torulosa), or as it is locally known,Tsenden Shing.The tree is found in the temperate climate zone, between 1800 and 3500 meters. Its capacity to survive on rugged harsh terrain is associated with bravery and simplicity.