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Bhutan – Architecture

if you think only India has got the best and most splendid architecture to showcase then you stand corrected since Travel and Tourism Bhutan depicts Bhutanese architecture as one of the best expressions of the Thunder Dragon Kingdom’s unique character. Through Bhutan tourism we get to learn that this complex geographical country was left isolated for many centuries, but even after its discovery we get to see very few changes in its architectural system since the earliest times. If we delve into Bhutan architecture, we come to know that the main roots of its architecture go back to Tibet. You’ll be amazed to know that they were in relation with China and faraway Persia, thanks to traders traveling the Silk Route. Seeing the impact and also drawing inspiration from older forms and ideas, the architects of Bhutan developed a style, which is atypical to their country.

Bhutan architecture is the finest example of a great sense of innovation and variety. This is evident from that fact that, they made each dzong, temple and monastery an exclusive creation, different from all others but at the same time maintaining a perfect harmony in the architectural style, throughout the country. Apart from that each and every building was designed and built to harmonize with the environment and fulfill certain specific functions. Secular or religious, many of them are true masterpieces. But the main feature or characteristic of Bhutanese architecture is that it is the result mostly of natural conditions, especially the climate.

Countries located to the north of the Himalayan range, such as Tibet or Ladakh, usually experience long severe winters and cold continental winds. The cold continental winds generally produce a baked landscape with only sparse vegetation. On the contrary, those located in the south such as Nepal, Sikkim and Bhutan, have much milder climates with abundant rainfall, especially during the summer monsoon.

This type of climate usually produces alpine-type vegetation, with forests containing many species of trees such as oak, rhododendron, cypress, juniper, pine and fir. This abundant supply of timber has given birth to an architecture in which wood plays a major role. That’s why shingle roofs and half-timbering are commonplace, since the raw materials are easy to find. Furthermore, a human reason must also be stressed, and that is that the minds of the Bhutanese people seem to have been inclined by their friendlier surroundings to craft a gentler and more graceful architecture than in Tibet.

Talking about the oldest architectures they are, Jampa Lhakhang in Bumthang valley or Kyichu in Paro valley that date from the period of the Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo. There are also various monasteries that were built in Bhutan between the 13th and 17th centuries. After this, followed the period of the first Shabdrung Rimpoche, Ngawang Namgyel, who had a great network of fortress built throughout the entire country. This architectural legacy is still perceptible today and Bhutan Tourism will take you on a trip down memory lane.

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