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Flora and Fauna: Bhutan is a haven for enthusiasts

Valley and mountain trekking: Bhutan is also a haven for trekking and mountain climbing..

Enthusiasts

Dzong and ancient ruins: A large number of mystical and historical ancient ruins are a curious fact about Bhutan. The country is filled with quite a number of Dzong that houses Buddhist monks and magnificent Buddha statues. Wangdiphodrang Dzong, Tiger's Nest, Trongsa Dzong are just the few places to mention which can give a unique and distinct archaeological appreciation that only Bhutan can offer. It is also neat to have the famous Bhutan stamps as a remembrance of these famous Buddhist temples. Monks and large Buddha statues also add to Bhutan's mysterious appeal.

FLORA & FAUNA

Bhutan has over 72% of its land under forest cover, including 26% of its area designated as protected areas thereby maintaining its rich biodiversity. The national parks and the wildlife sanctuaries are home to some of the rarest and most significant animals in the world. Bhutan has one of the richest biodiversity in the world with about 3,281 plant species per 10,000 square kilometres and has been declared as one of the 10 global biodiversity ‘hot spots’.

Bhutan has been identified as one of the 221 global endemic bird areas. The country’s forests of temperate and sub-tropical species are home to many rare species of flora and fauna. An estimated 770 species of birds and over 50 species of rhododendron, along with an astonishing variety of medicinal plants (over 300 species) and orchids are endemic to this region. Rare animals like the golden langur monkeys, the national animal, the Takin, and the enigmatic snow leopard are found in Bhutan. Bhutan is also one of the wintering grounds for the rare and enigmatic black necked cranes.


The tale of the Takin

The reason for Bhutan selecting the Takin as the national animal is based on both its uniqueness and its strong association with the country's religious history and mythology. When the great saint Lama Drukpa Kunley, "the divine madman", visited Bhutan in the 15th century, a large congregation of devotees gathered around the country to witness his magical powers. The people urged the lama to perform a miracle. However, the saint, in his usual unorthodox and outrageous way, demanded that he first be served a whole cow and a goat for lunch.

He devoured these with relish and left only bones. After letting out a large and satisfied burp, he took the goat's head and stuck it onto the bones of the cow. Then with a snap of his fingers, he commanded the strange beast to rise up and graze on the mountainside. To the astonishment of the people, the animal arose and ran up to the meadows to graze. This animal came to be known as the dong gyem tsey (takin) and to this day, these rather clumsy animals can be seen grazing on the mountainsides of Bhutan.



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