Drukpa Kunley was Bhutan’s famous Divine Madman. He would do outrageous things, including drinking and womanizing, to help shake people out of their illusory existence. Once, villagers wanted him to perform a miracle for them and prove that he was indeed a holy man. He insisted that he eat lunch first and told them to serve him a goat and a cow. He ate all of the goat meat and all of the cow meat, then he took the bones and placed the head of the goat on the body of the cow. The animal came to life and is known as the takin, Bhutan’s national animal.
The Takin--Bhutan's National Animal

The Takin, Bhutan's National Animal

Cremation is the most common funeral arrangement in Bhutan. Fragments of bone remain, so they are often crushed, mixed with mud, and pressed into a mold. The resulting miniature stupas are called tsa-tsa’s. Similar to Bouddhanath and other large stupas, which are also believed to contain relics, they are sacred memorials. The tsa-tsa’s are then taken to shrines or sacred sites and left to reside there.



The Trashichhoe fortress-monastery in the capital of Thimphu originally housed both the National Assembly and the National Monastic Body. After fire and earthquake, it was entirely rebuilt in the 1960’s in the traditional way–without a single drawing, blueprint, or nail!

Tashichho Dzong, Thimphu

Trashichhoe--Rebuilt without blueprints or nails