Bhutan Culture

Bhutan Culture and Mass Media

Newspapers in Bhutan

The daily spread in Bhutan is very small. A state news bulletin, Kuensel, is published once a week in three editions (in English, dzongkha and nepali) for a total of about 11,000 copies.

There are 34 radio stations, besides eleven that leave, among other things. flood warnings and meteorological reports. The state-owned company Bhutan Broadcasting Service (founded in 1973) broadcasts radio in one channel. Television is missing, but broadcasts are being received from India and Bangladesh. There are 50 radio and 20 TV receivers per 1,000 residents (2000).


According to ANIMALERTS, Bhutan’s cultural traditions are closely associated with the Buddhist religion. Visual art, dance and music are characterized by strong symbolism that embodies the religion’s thoughts on the good victory over evil. The role of the artists is mainly to subordinate to the tradition. In general, the knowledge is passed on in the monasteries.

Monasteries and temples are richly adorned with paintings depicting the life and works of Buddha and other prominent personalities. The paintings can be found both directly on the walls and on canvases mounted on fabric. Such paintings, thanka, are also in private homes. Ordinary house facades on homes and shops are also painted with both decorative patterns and religious symbols that will keep evil spirits away and ensure a good life for the residents or shop owners.

Sculpting, wood carving, casting of sculptures and objects as well as gold and silver forging are other common art forms of great importance for the practice of religion.

The distinctive architecture is perhaps the cultural expression most strongly associated with Bhutan. Most famous are the often multi-hundred-year-old dzongs, powerful buildings that are usually strategically placed to function as defense facilities in olden times. There is a dzong in each province and just over half a dozen of them are included in the country’s most important building memories. Most dzons contain both civil administration and monastery and are built around a number of farms. The lower floors are masonry and white painted, while the upper floors can be covered with wood or provided with ornamented and decorated wooden lanterns. The same principles characterize almost all civil architecture. Virtually all new buildings, including modern office buildings in Thimphu, follow the Bhutanese tradition by law.

Not even such a modern art form as film is free from religion and tradition. Director Khyentse Norbu got a world success with his debut film Football for Buddha (1999). But he is also one of Bhutan’s most revered religious personalities and recognized as a reincarnation of a famous Tibetan lama monk in the 19th century. His second film Travelers and Magicians (2003) was the first to be filmed in Bhutan.

In June 2012, the famous 16th century temple Wangdue Phodrang burned to the ground. The temple in eastern Bhutan is at a height of 1,350 meters in a place where two rivers flow together. Most of the valuables inside the temple could be saved and the temple is now being rebuilt. It is expected to be completed in 2021.

Bhutan Culture

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