National Flag of Bhutan, featuring white dragon with yellow and orange colors (Original Bhutan Travels)

National Flag

The National flag is divided diagonally into two equal halves. The upper yellow half signifies the secular power and the lower saffron-orange symbolizes the spiritual side of the country. The dragon signifies the name of the country (from Druk-yul – the Dragon Country). The white color of dragon shows the purity and unity. The mythical wish fulfilling jewels in the dragon’s claws represent Bhutan’s wealth, while the dragon’s snarling mouth symbolizes defense by the protective deities and institutions.

National Emblem

The national emblem, contained in a circle, is composed of a double diamond-thunderbolt (dorje or vajra) 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 as the land of thunder dragon..

National Tree

The national tree is the cypress (Cupressus torolusa). Cypresses are considered sacred with its leaves and wood used for incense. It is grown near temples and monasteries. It is protected by law and maybe cut only for building of altars and special temples. This tree is found mainly in the temperate regions of Bhutan.

National Flower

The national flower is the Blue Poppy (Meconopsis Grandis). It has a delicate blue or purple tinged blossom with a white filament. It can grow up to be knee-high and is found in alpine regions of Bhutan. It was discovered in 1933 by a British Botanist George Sherriff in eastern Bhutan.

National Animal

The national animal is the Takin (Burdorcas taxicolor). It is quite unique animal, often described as a cross between goat and cattle (in appearance). In fact, the legend has it that it was created after miracle performing Drukpa Kuenlay (the Divine Madmonk) devoured whole goat and cow, and put the carcasses together. During the summer it is found in herds in the alpine meadows, while in winter it behaves as solitary animals when within the forests.

National Bird

The national bird is the raven.  This intelligent bird is considered to be form of protective deity of Bhutan – the Gonpo Jarodongchen (or the raven headed Mahakala in Sanskrit). As form of this guardian, it is also depicted on the crown of Kings of Bhutan and is called the Raven Crown.

National Sport

The national sport is the archery. The traditional archery played in Bhutan is akin to field archery played elsewhere. Usually the traditional bow is two piece long cane bow. The traditional arrows are also made from bamboos and can feature various feathers. Now, modern compound bows made from fiberglass and aluminum arrows are also used, but separately in their own competitions.

Since 1984, Bhutan has always sent an archery team to the olympics. But the format of olympic archery and international archery is different than traditional archery.

The archery matches traditionally were played between villages for revelry, but was considered practice for warfare in the past. Archery features in many legends of saints and is depicted in traditional murals as implements carried by guardian dieties.