Religion of Bhutan

The Druk Country, the mesmerizing land of Dragons and the peaceful abode of the happiest people on Earth has a lot of offer. Its picturesque terrain, humble people and fiery traditional food leaves an everlasting impression on the minds of travelers. Not only that, the enthralling atmosphere of the monasteries perched high up on rocky climbs make the experience even more fulfilling! From being wonder lust to having a relaxing time, Bhutan is the best place to come in touch with nature. In the serene ambience people come close with their inner self, praying and chanting rhythmically in the holy monasteries.

Buddhism - Religion of Bhutan

Over a population of 770,000 habitants, Bhutan’s most practiced religion is Buddhism followed by Hinduism believed by approximately 25% of the population. Other religions followed are Bon, Christianity and Islam with a minor percentage of people not following any religion in particular. The freedom of religion as formulated by the Constitution of Bhutan permits one to practice any religion but forbid the conversion of the same.


Teachings of Buddha have been the heart and soul of Bhutan. Two most common paths of Buddhism are followed here divided into the new school and old school of thought. Bhutan is the sole country in the entire world to practice Mahayana Buddhism or Tantric Buddhism.

Most of the people living in this country are the immigrants from Tibet, more popularly known as Ngalop belonging to the Kagyu school of thought practicing Vajrayana Mantras. The Ngalop people belong to the Red Hat sect or the Drukpa, collectively known as the Drukpa Lineage. The Kagyu school of thought is one of the six prime schools of Buddhism. It is transmitted orally or is whispered down from one generation to the other. In modern times, Kagyu is considered as being the school belonging to the New Transmission method. This school of thought is prevalent in the western region and central part of Bhutan where the Ngalop population is concentrated. Drukpa Lineage is the most predominant religion followed in Bhutan and is the state religion as well.

Yet another school of thought of Buddhism followed in Bhutan by a large of people is the Nyingma School belonging to Tibetan Buddhism. Nyingma is the old school of thought and is the ancient amongst the other schools of Buddhism namely the Sakya, Jonang, Gelug and Bon. The teachings are translated from Sanskrit to Tibetan and are the very first teachings of Lord Buddha.

The government funds and supports the Buddhist monasteries belonging to Nyingma or ancient school of Buddhism as well as the Kagyu School or the modern school of thought. The majestic family practice a combination of both schools and several citizens believe in following Kanyin-Zungdrel teachings comprising of a fusion of the ancient and modern teachings of Buddha.

Monks are the central important figure in the religion system of Buddhism.


After Buddhism, majority of the people following Hiduism, a predominant religion of India, live in the southern region of Bhutan. One of the first and oldest Hindu temples was established in the capital city Thimpu by the Chief Abbot. Many people practice worshiping Hindu Gods and Goddesses but also integrate teachings of Buddha as part of their belief system. Buddhism and Hinduism are closely related. Most of the people practicing Hinduism are Nepalese.


Other minor groups follow Bon and Islam. Bon or shamanistic belief system is where nature and its elements are worshipped. It is often associated with Buddhist rituals and very few people solely follow this. Islam and Christianity are singularly followed by a minor percentage of Muslims and Christians residing in Bhutan.

The Sharchops or the easterners are people from of mixed origin from Tibet, South Asian and South-East Asia concentrated chiefly in the eastern region of Bhutan. They follow either Buddhism or Hinduism infused with Bon school of thought and Animism or the worshiping of life and nature. They are probably the first and original descendants of the country and majority of them hold several respectable positions in Bhutan. Several monasteries are constructed throughout the country which has become major tourist attractions as well. 10,000 gold plated miniature Buddha statues, chortens and Tenjur are all major elements of Buddhism religion scattered and preserved throughout the kingdom of Bhutan.