Geography of Bhutan

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 - Permanent
   crops  - Other
2.3% 0.43% 97.27% (2005 est.)

The Kingdom of Bhutan is a sovereign nation, located towards the eastern extreme of the Himalayas mountain range. It is fairly evenly sandwiched between the sovereign territory of two nations: first, the People's Republic of China on the north and northwest. There are approximately 470 kilometres of border with that nation's Tibet Autonomous Region. The second nation is the Republic of India on the south, southwest, and east; there are approximately 605 kilometres with the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, West Bengal, and Sikkim, in clockwise order from the kingdom. Bhutan's total borders amount to 1,075 kilometres. The Kingdom of Nepal to the west, the People's Republic of Bangladesh to the south, and the Union of Myanmar to the southeast are other close neighbours; the former two are separated by only very small stretches of Indian territory.

Bhutan is a very compact nation, but with just a small bit more length than width. The nation's territory totals an approximate 46,500 square kilometres. Because of its inland, landlocked status, it controls no territorial waters. It is known as the "Switzerland of Asia" since its shape, area, and mountainous location are comparable to that of Switzerland.[2] Bhutan's territory used to extend south into present-day Assam, including the protectorate of Cooch Behar, but, starting from 1772, the British East India Company began to push back the borders through a number of wars and treaties, severely reducing Bhutan's size until the Treaty of Sinchulu of 1865, when some border land was ceded back.

Contents

Political geography

Bhutan is divided into 20 dzongkhag, and further into 201 gewog.

Natural geography

The Himalayas dominate the north of the country, where mountain peaks can easily reach 7,000 metres (22,966 ft); the highest point in Bhutan is Gangkhar Puensum, which has the distinction of being the highest unclimbed mountain in the world, at 7,570 metres (24,840 ft). [3]. Weather is extreme in the mountains: the high peaks have perpetual snow, and the lesser mountains and hewn gorges have high winds all year round, making them barren brown wind tunnels in summer, and frozen wastelands in winter. The blizzards generated in the north each winter often drift southward into the central highlands.

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