The Sub-Tropical South

The Sub-Tropical South

The southern part of Bhutan mainly consists of a lowland belt, between 100 and 1000 meters above sea-level, located in the foothills to the Himalayas. For a long time this region, due to its sub-tropical monsoon climate and the latent danger of malaria, was not very attractive to the population of Central Bhutan.

Not least because of the inhospitable climate conditions for the mountain inhabitants of Bhutan, various other religious and ethnic groups settled here. They mainly cultivate rice, corn and millet and, in recent times, also dedicate themselves to the cultivation of orange and cardamom plantations.



In the district of Samtse, for example, live the Lhopus who number less than 1000 people, a population which is relatively unresearched by anthropologists. During the last 20 years, they remained practically untouched by the political and economic developments in Bhutan and today still follow their traditional, kinship-related lifestyle defined by their animistic beliefs.

Since the middle of the 20th century, however, immigrants of Nepalese descent form, by numbers, the most important ethnic group of South Bhutan.

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

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Wood, leather; height 75 centimeters, diameter 40 centimeters; on loan from the Museum für Völkerkunde der Universität Zürich
In the south of Bhutan live populations of Nepalese descent. Their folk dances are usually accompanied by a double-drum.

Wood, leather, iron; height 23 centimeters, diameter 65 centimeters; on loan from the Völkerkundemuseum der Universität Zürich
For their rituals, Shamans (jakri) of the Nepalese descendant minority, living mainly in the south, use drums that are beaten with a hammer. They are also said to be the objects upon which they ride during their shamanistic flights to the other worlds.

Wood, repaired with a piece of iron; height 35 centimeters, diameter 23 centimeters and height 28 centimeters, diameter 19 centimeters; on loan from the Völkerkundemuseum der Universität Zürich
In South Bhutan containers fashioned out of wood are filled with all sorts of drinks. The container with the provisionally repaired crack served for the storage of butter.

Wood; measurements: length 52 centimeters, diameter 10 centimeters and length 45,5 centimeters, diameter 11 centimeters and length 38,5 centimeters, diameter 8,5 centimeters; on loan from Völkerkundemuseum der Universität Zürich