The East of Bhutan

The East of Bhutan

In East Bhutan there is a milder climate as in the parts of the country which are located in the farther lying western and northern regions. To a small extent, rice is cultivated. The basic food of the East Bhutanese, however, is corn. Sheep and yak breeding are mainly practiced in the somewhat higher regions.

The predominate majority of the inhabitants of East Bhutan are the Sharchopas. They speak a distinct language, Tshangla, which until today cannot be linguistically categorized. They probably had already settled in Bhutan during pre-historic times.


However, in the far eastern region of the province of Tashigang, on the border to the Indian province of Arunachal Pardesh, lie the high valleys of Merak and Sakteng. Here live the Brokpa, a population of about 5000 people who speak a highly modified Dzongkha dialect and are mainly known for their unusual costumes.

The Laya in the North
The East of Bhutan
.  The Brokpa
The Sub-Tropical South
West and Central Bhutan

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Butter-Tea Churn, wood; height 106 centimeters, diameter 19 centimeters; on loan from Françoise Pommaret
Unfermented tea leaves are boiled, the tea is poured into the churn and mixed with butter, salt and soda.
Container, wood; height 40 centimeters, diameter 30 centimeters; on loan from Françoise Pommaret
The thin bands of wood are held together by seams made out of bamboo strips.

Cap: felt, made so that rain water runs off from the tip; jacket: napped, felted wool fabric; tunic: skin of some type of deer, the side with the fur can be worn inside or outside; pants: napped wool fabric; leggings: leather; boots: wool and leather; on loan from Lyonpo Sangay Ngedup
»Brokpa« means herdsman or nomad and also refers to an ethnic group in the district of Merak Sakteng in East Bhutan.

Storage basket, bamboo; diameter 20 centimeters, height 8 centimeters; on loan from Christian Schicklgruber
Containers of this sort are a typical product of South-East Bhutan.

Bamboo; measurements 8 x 20 x 10 centimeters and height 8 centimeters, diameter 17 centimeters; on loan from the Völkerkundemuseum der Universität Zürich and the Museum für Völkerkunde Wien respectively.
Boxes made out of bamboo strips or thin wooden bands are used primarily in the kitchen for food storage.