The 1st Druk Gyalpo of Bhutan, Gongsar Ugyen Wangchuck (Center) , with his loyal subjects

Bhutan is known as Druk Yul to its local counter parts. It means the ‘Land of the Thunder Dragon’, however the actual derivation of the name is from the Drukpa sect of Buddhism that was prevalent in the country sometime during the 17th century.   

To start from the beginning, Bhutan had no distinct religion until the 7th century and people followed Bonism (worship of nature). The whole period from 7th – 17th century is filled with mysteries and mysticism. We Bhutanese revere a Buddhist Master, Guru Rinpoche (considered by many to be the second Buddha), who came to Bhutan under the invitation of the Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo and together they brought Buddhism into the country in the 7th century. 

However, it was only in the 17th century after the arrival of a Tibetan Buddhist scholar, Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, that Bhutan was first unified and a proper system of law and governance was established. After his demise, the country plunged back into civil strife and power struggle until the 20th century and finally in 1907, the Trongsa Poenlop (Trongsa – District in Bhutan, Penlop – head of a district/governor), His Majesty Sir Ugyen Wangchuck, gained control and with the support of the people, established himself as the first Druk Gyalpo (Dragon King) of Bhutan. Thus,  the legacy of the ‘Wangchuck’ dynasty began and it is still in place today.  

At present, through generations of rule and supervision from our visionary kings, Bhutan has its own constitution and has converted itself to democracy (since 2008) to safeguard the rights of its people. In 2008, the 4th Druk Gyalpo, His Majesty Druk Gyalpo Jigme Singye Wangchuck, at the age of 53, who introduced the concept of “Gross National Happiness” to the world, also abdicated his throne in favour of his son, His Majesty Druk gyalpo Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck. Today, we are blessed with a crown prince, His Majesty Jigme Namgyel Wangchuck, who will take his father’s place in the future and for the first time in Bhutan’s history, we have three generations of our king’s lineage together. With the presence of unprecedented peace and harmony within the kingdom, we, the Bhutanese, revere the ‘tsa-wa-sum’, which means the ‘three jewels’ of our country and they are the King, The Country and its People.