Bhutan, Culture, Religion, Buddhism
Bhutan - The interaction of Culture, Religion and Buddhism in the Himalaya Kingdom


Religion, Culture, Buddhism, Monks, Monasteries,
Temples, Dzongs (Monstery-Castles)



The Himalaya Kingdom of Bhutan characteristically is formed, as far as religion and way of life are concerned, by the Mahayana Buddhism as predominant in Tibet: the Lamaistic and Tantric Buddhism. This religion still is deeply rooted in the Bhutanese people.

The main schools of the Mahayana Buddhism adhered to in Bhutan are the Kargyü-pa-school in its form of the Kargyü-Druk-pa, and the Ningma-pa-school respectively. The Kargyü Druk-pa school practically is the “official church”, has the largest number of monks und nuns as well as monasteries; His Holiness the Je Kempo, the highest religious authority of Bhutan, always is an abbot of the Kargyü Druk-pa. The second largest community is the Ningma-pa school which has a slightly smaller number of monks, nuns and monasteries.

Visible proof of the deep religious devotion of the Bhutanese people are the innumerable picturesque temples and monasteries, chorten and mani walls, prayer wheels and prayer flags which decorate the villages and landscape, steep slopes and hill tops. Prayer flags still are erected, often in dangerously steep places, by the pious Bhutanese on advice of their family lamas at many occasions like births, deaths and other important family affairs.

The ‘ capital’ of each of the 20 provinces of Bhutan is situated around a very imposing Dzong or monastery-castle. Here, as in the past, reside under one roof the worldly power , namely the office of the Governor (Dzongda) of the province, and the religious power represented by a high ranking abbot with many monks.
Buddhism still gives its undisputed stamp to the culture of Bhutan. The most important festivals are religious ones with their colourful and mystic temple dances. A special expression of Bhutanese culture is the traditional architecture still mostly dominated by the religion: all design and construction elements, the dimensions and proportions of doors and windows, the colours etc. have religious implications; they have to assure that the benign spirits can easily enter the building, and in contrast, that the bad demons have no access.
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Religion, Culture, Buddhism, Monks, Monasteries,
Temples, Dzongs (Monastery-Castles)


The Himalaya Kingdom of Bhutan characteristically is formed, as far as religion and way of life are concerned, by the Mahayana Buddhism as predominant in Tibet: the Lamaistic and Tantric Buddhism. This religion still is deeply rooted in the Bhutanese people.

The main schools of the Mahayana Buddhism adhered to in Bhutan are the Kargyü-pa-school in its form of the Kargyü-Druk-pa, and the Ningma-pa-school respectively. The Kargyü Druk-pa school practically is the “official church”, has the largest number of monks and nuns as well as monasteries; His Holiness the Je Kempo, the highest religious authority of Bhutan, always is an abbot of the Kargyü Druk-pa. The second largest community is the Ningma-pa school which has a slightly smaller number of monks, nuns and monasteries.

Visible proof of the deep religious devotion of the Bhutanese people are the innumerable picturesque temples and monasteries, chorten and mani walls, prayer wheels and prayer flags which decorate the villages and landscape, steep slopes and hill tops. Prayer flags still are erected, often in dangerously steep places, by the pious Bhutanese on advice of their family lamas at many occasions like births, deaths and other important family affairs.

The Dzong or Monastery- Castle of Punakha  

The Dzong or Monastery- Castle of Punakha



The ‘capital’ of each of the 20 provinces of Bhutan is situated around a very imposing Dzong or monastery-castle. Here, as in the past, reside under one roof the worldly power , namely the office of the Governor (Dzongda) of the province, and the religious power represented by a high ranking abbot with many monks.

Buddhism still gives its undisputed stamp to the culture of Bhutan. The most important festivals are religious ones with their colourful and mystic temple dances. A special expression of Bhutanese culture is the traditional architecture still mostly dominated by the religion: all design and construction elements, the dimensions and proportions of doors and windows, the colours etc. have religious implications; they have to assure that the benign spirits can easily enter the building, and in contrast, that the bad demons have no access.

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» Religion, Culture, Buddhism, Monks, Monasteries, Temples, Dzongs (Monstery-Castles)

» The Punakha Dzong and Dzongs in General

» Bhutanese Bazams or Wooden Cantilever Bridges (Text) and their Development (Drawing)

» The new Bazam of the Punakha Dzong and ‘Pro Bhutan, Germany’ (Text) Protection of Bridge Tower against Floods (Drawing)

» Visit of two Portuguese Jesuit Patres in Bhutan in 1627
» Trekking, Himalaya, Environment

» Photography in Bhutan; photos of Bhutan

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