West and Central Bhutan

West and Central Bhutan

Most of the population of Bhutan lives in the central part of Bhutan, located between 1000 and 2800 meters above sea-level. This is also where, among others, the capital Thimphu lies.

This region is primarily inhabited by the Drukpa. They represent the majority of the population from the mountain valleys of Ha, Paro, Thimphu and Punakha, as well as the province of Bumthang. The influence of the Drukpa on the development of the state cannot be underestimated. Dzongkha, the original dialect of West Bhutan, was promoted to the state language in the course of the establishment of the modern monarchy. Today, the traditional Drukpa dress - the go for the men and the kira for the women - is considered the national costume of Bhutan. The most important tshechu also take place in the Dzong of these four valleys.


As in all of Bhutan, most of the people here also depend upon agriculture and livestock breeding for their livelihood. Rice, winter wheat, buckwheat, barley and potatoes are grown here. In Punakha, even oranges are being cultivated.

The Laya in the North
The East of Bhutan
The Sub-Tropical South
West and Central Bhutan
.  The Western Valleys
.  The Bumthang Province

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Wrap dress (kira): silk with warp stripes and patterened flushing warp, richly embroidered, held by two silver clasps (koma) and a tablet woven belt (kera); measurements (open) 290 x 150 centimeters; blouse (wonju): silk; on loan from the Museum für Völkerkunde Wien
Today, the traditional clothing of the Drukpa population is the national costume of Bhutan and is also worn by other ethnic groups.

Bamboo, brass, leather; height 37,5 centimeters, diameter 14 centimeters and height 22,5 centimeters, diameter 12 centimeters; on loan from the Völkerkundemuseum der Universität Zürich
From these vessels primarily alcoholic drinks are poured into a bowl or are sipped through bamboo straws.

Wood; length 240 centimeters; on loan from the Museum für Völkerkunde Wien
The field-drag is pulled over the field by an animal in order to flatten the clods of earth after plowing. The farmer stands on this implement, thus providing the necessary downward pressure.

Archery is the favorite sport of the Bhutanese men. The distance between the targets of both teams measures more than 140 meters. The mood at the contest is often enlivened by the ample consumption of alcohol.
Photograph by Jon Warren