National Symbols of Bhutan
The upper yellow half that touches the base symbolizes the secular tradition. It personifies His Majesty the King, whose noble actions enhance the Kingdom. Hence, it symbolizes that His Majesty is the upholder of the spiritual and secular foundations of the Kingdom. The lower orange half that extends to the top symbolizes the spiritual tradition. It also symbolizes the flourishing of the Buddhist teachings in general and that of the Kagyu and Nyingma traditions in particular. The dragon signifies the name and the purity of the country while the jewels in its jeweled claws stand for the wealth and perfection of the country.
The national emblem, contained in a circle, is composed of a double diamond-thunderbolt (dorje) placed above a lotus, surmounted by a jewel and framed by two dragons. The thunderbolt represents the harmony between secular and religious power. The lotus symbolizes purity. The jewel expresses sovereign power, and the two dragons, male and female, stand for the name of the country, DrukYul or the Land of the Dragon which they proclaim with their great voice, the thunder.
Original (Dzongkha) Translation
འབྲུག་ཙན་དན་བཀོད་པའི་རྒྱལ་ཁབ་ནང་།། Druk tsenden koepei gyelkhap na
In the Kingdom of Bhutan adorned with cypress trees, (English Translation)
དཔལ་ལུགས་གཉིས་བསྟན་སྲིད་སྐྱོང་བའི་མགོན་།། Pyel loog nig tyensi chongwei gyen
The Protector who reigns over the realm of spiritual and secular traditions,
འབྲུག་རྒྱལ་པོ་མངའ་བདག་རིན་པོ་ཆེ་།། Druk gyelpo ngadak rinpoche
He is the King of Bhutan, the precious sovereign.
སྐུ་འགྱུར་མེད་བརྟན་ཅིང་ཆབ་སྲིད་འཕེལ་།། Koo jurmey tyenching chap tsid pyel
May His being remain unchanging, and the Kingdom prosper,
ཆོས་སངས་རྒྱས་བསྟན་པ་དར་ཞིང་རྒྱས་།། Che sangye tyenpa darshing gyel
May the teachings of the Enlightened One flourish,
འབངས་བདེ་སྐྱིད་ཉི་མ་ཤར་བར་ཤོག་།། Bang deykyed nyima sha-wa sho.
May the sun of peace and happiness shine over all people.
The national sport Bhutan is the Archery (Dha). The bow and arrow play a significant role in many Bhutanese myths and legends; images of the gods holding a bow and arrows are considered especially favorable.
Archery was declared the national sport in 1971 when Bhutan became a member of the United Nations. Bhutan also maintains an Olympic archery team.Previously, competitions were held only at Dzongkhag and Gewog levels, however modernly, archery tournaments and competitions are held throughout the country. Archery is played during religious and secular public holidays in Bhutan, local festivals (tsechu), between public ministries and departments, and between the Dzongkhag and the regional teams. Archery tournaments and performances have also become a significant point of interest for tourism in Bhutan.
The ‘Dong Gyem Tsey’ or Takin (Burdorcas-taxicolor) has been diligently chosen as the National Animal of Bhutan because it is unique, rare and native to Bhutan. The reason for declaring the Takin as a national animal of Bhutan on November 25, 2005 is attributed to a legend of the animal’s creation in Bhutan in the 15th century by Lama Drukpa Kunley. It is a very rare mammal with a thick neck and short muscular legs. Takin are found from forested valleys to rocky, grass-covered alpine zones, at altitudes between 1,000 and 4,500 m above sea level on the north-western and far north eastern parts of the country. Takin feed in the early morning and late afternoon, grazing on a variety of leaves and grasses, as well as bamboo shoots and flowers.
Blue Poppy, the National Flower of Bhutan, is known locally as ‘Euitgel Metog Hoem’. Its biological name is Meconopsis horridula. Blue Poppy is a hardy perennial flowering plant. It is herbaceous and blooms in summer. In Bhutan, it grows to a height of 1 meter on the rocky mountain terrain, above the tree line at altitudes of 3500m to 4500m. It was discovered in 1933 by a British Botanist, George Sherriff in a remote part of Sakteng in eastern Bhutan. At one time, people considered it to be a myth because of its existence had not been confirmed but they can be found along high mountain passes from the far eastern parts of the country across to the west. It is one of the rarest flowers in the world and its stems have 4 to 5 flowers. 13 types of endemic Blue Poppies have been identified all over Bhutan, spotted all over the alpine region across the country.
The Raven is the national bird of Bhutan. The raven is known locally as Jaroq. The bird represents a form of Mahakala, one of the Bhutan’s chief guardian deities. The prototype of the founding monarch’s Raven Crown had first been devised as a battle helmet for Jigme Namgyel (1825–1881), father of the first king of Bhutan Sir, Ugyen Wangchuk, and known as the Black Regent. He had worn it in bloody struggles against his many rivals within the country and against the British who tried, unsuccessfully, to subdue him.
The national tree of Bhutan is the cypress (Cupressus torolusa). Locally, it is known as ‘Tsenden Shing’. It is also referred to as Bhutan Cypress or Himalayan Cypress. They are associated with religion, and may often be found near the religious structures and in the temperate zone between altitudes of 1800m and 3500m. Bhutanese consider the cypress tree sacred and held it in great reverence. Its ability to survive in difficult, rugged and harsh terrains and the strong and straight form is believed to be akin to the element of simplicity, hardiness and bravery in the people of Bhutan. Cypress is often planted outside monasteries, Dzongs and religious places and its wood and branches has been used as incense for thousands of years. The essential oil extracted from root-wood of Cypress is used in medicine to cure inflammatory wounds, an antiseptic and to make cosmetics.