News and developments
Selected extended news and articles about Bhutan
Please also have a look at the Links page for other news sites and resources about Bhutan
PM honours British woman supporting children in Bhutan
Prime Minister Theresa May has named a British Buddhist nun a Point of Light for working to improve the lives of children in rural Bhutan.
Emma Slade is the founder of 'Opening Your Heart to Bhutan', a charity dedicated to supporting children in the country. Emma spent seven years working in the city of London before travelling for a number of years and eventually being ordained as a Buddhist nun in Bhutan. She combines her business background and her in-depth knowledge of Bhutan to serve as Chief Executive of the charity in an entirely voluntary capacity.
The full story behind Emma's award is here
See also www.pointsoflight.gov.uk
Bhutanese Ambassador's address to the Society
Bhutan's Ambassador to the European Union, Aum Pema Choden, delivered an address to the Society at the Annual Dinner at the Charterhouse.
In the speech she discused the Royal Birth, the reconstruction of Drukyel Dzong and the close ties between Bhutan and the UK.
The complete text of the address can be found here
Cine Film from the 1940s
Dr Harry Staunton
Society member Mrs Diana Hughes has recently transferred to dvd her father's cine films from the early 1940s.
Dr Harry Staunton visited Bhutan and Tibet in this period; Paro, Haa, Wangdue and Semtoka can be identified.
Diana has kindly allowed the Society to select extracts and these can now be seen below.
Anyone wishing to use or reproduce these images should obtain the permission of Diana Hughes.
Tashichho and Semtokha
A Cultural Epiphany: Religious Dances of Bhutan and Their Costumes
For most outsiders, the religious dances of Bhutan are a visual feast of colours, enhanced by the twirling movements of the dancers, rich costumes and often, but not always, intriguing masks. But what are the cultural and religious meanings that hide behind the masks and the costumes? In a fascinating and authoritative article, Françoise Pommaret unravels the different layers of meanings and their relevance to the Bhutanese.
The author looks at the religious significance of various types of Buddhist Festivals, how they are celebrated and the role of the beautiful applique and embroidered banner " which liberates by sight" or throngdrel. The meaning of the many dance traditions are also explored as are the very varied costumes, masks and musical instruments that play such symbolic roles at these festivals.
You can read the full article, along with some superb photographs, here
What is in a Name?
Dr Karma Phuntsho,President of the Loden Foundation
Names form an important part of a person's identity. They serve as conventional labels to identify a person.
Bhutan has an interesting naming culture both in terms of how the names are given and used and what they mean or signify.
New air routes
An air route connecting Bhutan to Singapore via Yangon, the capital of Myanmar, can now be established following a memorandum of understanding reached, last week.
With Drukair currently operating two flights to Singapore via Kolkata, per week, a total of four flights to the island state can now be operated under the new deal.
Following a bilateral air services consultation in Yangon, the Myanmar government has also agreed that fifth freedom rights will be provided to Bhutan from any five freely selected intermediate points and five freely selected beyond points for flights connecting Yangon.
Fifth freedom rights allow an airline to carry paying passengers between foreign countries, for instance, a Drukair or Tashi Air flight originating in Paro, can stop in Kolkata, Dhaka or any three other cities, pick up paying passengers and fly on to Yangon.
The new deal also means that besides Bangkok and Singapore which are beyond points for the airlines, three more foreign cities can now be connected to Yangon, if desired by the airlines.