Bridge To Bhutan

…For Sustainable Bhutan

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The story of Black-Necked Crane Festival

June 26, 2009 By: Bridge to Bhutan Category: Environment, News, Sustainable Travel

The black-necked Cranes (Grus nigricollis)  is a vulnerable species of Cranes. There are only 5,000-6,000 of them in the world. Each fall, 2-300 black-necked cranes fly few thousand miles from Tibet to two specific locations in Bhutan. They return to Tibet in Spring when it starts to get warmer in Bhutan. The bird is part of the Bhutanese folklore, music, and dance. The villagers celebrate their arrival and they are saddened when the birds depart. The people get nervous when the birds don’t arrive on time since it could mean bad harvest or ill-luck.  The bird is respected and both the people and the government protects the bird’s habitat. Bhutan is also home to one of the most endangered bird species in the world, the White-bellied Heron (Ardea insignis). The unique event to mark the arrival of the black-necked cranes, held annually is an attraction to both locals and tourists alike.

Annual Black-necked Crane Festival celebrationNovember 12

bncThe much awaited event of the Year – the Annual Black-necked Crane Festival is here again. The early morning chill is not a deterrent to the members of Phobjikha Environment Management Committee (PEMC) as they rise up early in preparation for the festival. PEMC, the local community group was formed nine years ago by the Royal Society for Protection of Nature (RSPN) under its integrated conservation and development program (ICDP) initiative. The committee was formed to promote conservation and guide the prudent management of natural resources in Phobjikha. Over the years, the committee has increasingly taken up responsibilities that they are now the organizers of the festival.

The Annual black-necked Crane Festival is celebrated on 12th November every year and coincides with the birth anniversary of our Fourth King Jigme Singye Wangchuck. [Over the years], the crane festival saw a huge crowd such that finding a place to sit was difficult. It also saw a large number of international visitors/ tourists who were delighted to attend such a rare occasion.

The students from two community primary schools in the valley presented cultural items including the most fascinating item, black-necked crane dance. There were also many cultural dance and mask dance items presented by local village folks. One of the unique cultural items was the ‘Pazap’ presented by the folks of Bjena geowg. (more…)

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Measuring Gross National Happiness (GNH): 4 pillars, 9 Domains & 72 Indicators

May 27, 2009 By: Bridge to Bhutan Category: Gross National Happiness, News, Sustainable Development, Tourism & Bhutan

For a long time, Bhutan didn’t want to measure happiness. Simply ask one question- Are you happy in Bhutan? and you have the answer… Since the world is increasingly obsessed with numbers, the Center for Bhutan Studies in Bhutan along with the international academia & development practitioners, came up with a formula after several international conferences on GNH. The first conference was held in 2004 in Thimphu, Bhutan and in 2010, it will be held in Brazil.

Happiness formula: Jealousy, sexual misconduct, or apathy toward reciting prayers – Bhutan is now ready with a set of mathematical formulae to measure these personal feelings and collect it all to calculate the country’s happiness.


Happiness formula uses 72 indicators, from reciting prayers to buying second-hand clothes.

For all those GNH skeptics who said happiness can never be measured, the Centre for Bhutan Studies is ready with the tools. (more…)

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Snowstorm cuts off Merak

March 07, 2009 By: Bridge to Bhutan Category: Environment, Gross National Happiness, Rural Development, Sustainable Development

A powerful snowstorm on February 25 blew away roofs of more than 50 houses, school buildings and a veterinary clinic in Merak, Trashigang. 

The jamtho (parts of roof) of an old temple, Samtenchholing lhakhang, and the gewog guesthouse were also damaged.But there were no casualties said the Sakten dungpa, Tshewang Tobgay, who was informed by a yak herder, who managed to get through the snow and return from Merak yesterday afternoon. (more…)

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