Hinduism in Bhutan

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Hindu Dharma Samudaya Temple, Kuensel Phodrang, Thimphu, Bhutan.

About 22.6% of the population of Bhutan are Hindus[1].It is followed mainly by the ethnic Lhotshampa . In 2015, Hinduism became one of the national religions of the country. The Shaivite, Vaishnavite, Shakta, Ganapathi, Puranic, and Vedic schools are represented among Hindus. Hindu temples exist in southern Bhutan, and Hindus practice their religion in small- to medium-sized groups.


The tilaka (in red) and jamara used during Dashain

The main festival of bhutanese hindus is Dashain. It is the only recognized Hindu public holiday in Bhutan. It was recognized as a holiday in 2015 by the King of Bhutan, he also celebrated Dashain with Hindus that year.[2][3].The first nine days of Dashain symbolize the battle which took place between the different manifestations of Durga and Mahishasura. The tenth day is the day when Durga finally defeated him. For other Hindus, this festival symbolizes the victory of Ram over Ravan as recounted in the Ramayana. They also prepare Sel roti during Dashain.

Hindu Dharma Samudaya[edit]

The Hindu Dharma Samudaya of Bhutan (HDSB) is the Hindu religious organization, established in 2009. It is registered with the Chhoedey Lhentshog, the Commission for Religious Organizations of Bhutan. HDSB is dedicated to promote spiritual traditions and practices of Sanathan Dharma in Bhutan so to foster and strengthen human values.Its head office in the capital city, Thimphu, the organization is managed by a Board of Directors of volunteers comprising representatives from Hindu priests and other HDSB members who are elected at an annual general meeting. [4]

Persecution of Hindus[edit]

Etnic cleansing of Lhotshampas hindus carried out by King Jigme Singye Wangchuk of Bhutan during the 1990s. In the early 1990s, several thousands of Bhutanese residents in southern Bhutan were ethnically cleansed by the authorities under the provisions of the amended Citizenship Act of 1985, because they followed the Hindu religion and culture, and had mixed Himalayan ethnicity, with one parent of Nepali origin. Nepal, like India, shares common Hindu and Buddhist traditions, but the majority population of Bhutan is exclusively Buddhist and the royal family has unfortunately shown a pronounced sectarian bias towards its Hindu citizens who have been settled there for centuries. After the purge of the 1990s began, the Bhutanese Hindus have been forced to live in refugee camps set up by the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in eastern Nepal in 1992.

The government provided financial assistance for the construction of Buddhist temples and shrines and state funding for monks and monasteries. NGOs alleged that the government rarely granted permission to build Hindu temples; the last report of such construction was in the early 1990s, when the government authorized the construction and renovation of Hindu temples and centers of Sanskrit and Hindu learning and provided state funds to help finance the projects. The government argued that it was a matter of supply and demand, with demand for Buddhist temples far exceeding that for Hindu temples. The Government stated that it supported numerous Hindu temples in the south, where most Hindus reside, and provided some scholarships for Hindus to study Sanskrit in India.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Pew Research Center - Global Religious Landscape 2010 - religious composition by country.
  2. ^ "Hinduism Today Magazine".
  3. ^ "His Majesty celebrates Dashain with the people of Loggchina". 2015-10-23.
  4. ^ https://bhutanhindudharma.com
  5. ^ "Bhutan: International Religious Freedom Report 2007". United States Department of State. 2007. Retrieved 2010-01-28. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.