Young Pioneer Tours

The flag of Bhutan

The National Flag of Bhutan

When it comes to flags, Bhutan has a truly unique one. In fact, the flag of Bhutan, like Wales’, probably is one of the most popular for children as it is one of the few flags with a dragon on it.

Meaning of the flag of Bhutan

The flag of Bhutan has a dragon on it since the country is nicknamed the Dragon country. Dragon in Dzonghka, the national language of Bhutan, is ‘’Druk’’, which is also the name of one of the two national airlines of Bhutan. The dragon also refers to the Drukpa branch of Buddhism which is the national religion of the Buddhist Kingdom. It is also likely that the dragon was borrowed from Qing Dynasty, in China, which had a similar flag and was a neighbouring country to Bhutan.

The flag has two colours. Its orange represent Buddhism, like the robes buddhist monks of the Drukpa tradition are wearing. The yellow part represents tradition and the authority of the leader of Bhutan, dubbed the Dragon King. As orange and yellow are in equal part on the flag, it means that Buddhism and royalty have an equal importance in the kingdom as their leading force. The dragon in the middle of the flag represents the king and is white to depict spiritual purity as well as impartiality in the service of all ethnic and linguistic groups of Bhutan. Finally, the dragon is holding pearls, which are the wealth and prosperity of Bhutan, and is growling, which depicts the strength of the kingdom in its defenses.

Evolution of the flag of Bhutan

First concept of the Bhutanese flag
First concept of the Bhutanese flag, it was square-like and red rather than orange

Since its creation in 1947, the flag of Bhutan has known some changes. The changes are somewhat minor, conceptually. The two colours and the dragon have always been there, however, the colours and the design of the dragon themselves have changed. The orange was once red and the dragon’s shape was quite different.

My flag flutters better than yours

A funny story about the flag is that it was not always of the same ratio. Before it was codified and standardised in 1972, the flag used to be more square-like, but its ratio was changed to match that of India has people thought that the Indian flag, next to the flag of Bhutan, fluttered better. Evidently, India and Bhutan are two countries which have strong ties (the rupee being tied to the Bhutanese currency, for instance), and thus Bhutan didn`t want their flag to look any less handsome next to the Indian one. In the same train of thought, certain rules have been instaured to preserve the standing of the flag within the country. For example, no other flag can be hoisted higher than the national flag and the national flag has to be hoisted above the main district headquarter everywhere in Bhutan.

Spot the flag of Bhutan during our inaugural tour of Bhutan this summer