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Geography

Geography

Bhutan - Landlocked country is situated in the eastern Himalayas with pristine environment. It is bordered for 470 kilometers by Tibet region of China to the north and northwest for 605 kilometers by India's states of Sikkim to the west, West Bengal to the southwest, Assam to the south and southeast, and Arunachal Pradesh to the east. Sikkim divides Bhutan from Nepal.

Bhutan stretches 300 kms in length and 170 kms in breadth thus forming a total of 46,500 square kilometers. About 70 percent of Bhutan is covered with forests; 10 percent covered with perpetual snow and glaciers. This leaves 9 percent for human habitation. The rest for pastures, meadows, barren rocky areas or scrubland.

Early British visitors to Bhutan reported the high mountains lost in the clouds altogether a scene of extraordinary magnificence and sublimity. Bhutan has the most rugged mountain terrains in the world with elevations ranging from 160m in the south to 7,000m in the north. Bhutan's highest peak at 7,554m is Kulha Gangri bordering China; Jumo Lhari overlooking the Chumbi Valley is 7,314m; nineteen other peaks exceed 7,000m.

The snowcapped Great Himalayan Range over 7,500m runs along the Bhutan-China border. The northern region consists of glaciated mountain peaks with arctic climate at the highest elevations. Watered by snow-fed rivers, alpine valleys in this region provide pasturage for livestock tended by a sparse population of migratory nomads.

The Inner Himalayas are southward spurs of the Greater Himayalan Range. The Black Mountains, in central Bhutan, form a watershed between two major river systems, the Mo Chhu and the Drangme Chhu (River). Peaks in the Black Mountains range between 1,500m to 2,700m, and the fast-flowing rivers have carved out spectacular gorges in the lower mountain valleys. The woodlands of the central region provide most of Bhutan's valuable forest production.

In the south, foothills descending into the subtropical Duars in India are covered with dense deciduous forest, alluvial lowland river valleys, and mountains that reach to around 1,500m.

he Duars abuts the Himalayan foothills, has rugged, sloping terrain and dry porous soil with dense vegetation and abundant wildlife. Rice and other crops are grown on the plains and mountainsides up to 1,200m.