The yellow signifies civil tradition, and embodies His Majesty’s being. His Majesty is the summit of Bhutan and wears Yellow Kabney.

Bhutan National Flag

The National Flag of Bhutan is diagonally divided into yellow and orange fields.  The yellow half stretches from the lower hoist to the upper fly end, and the orange half from the fly end to the lower hoist. White dragon flies facing away from the hoist along the dividing line.

First Flag of Bhutan

His Majesty the Second King, Jigme Wangchuck initiated designing of Bhutan’s national flag in the 1940s and ordered Mayum Choying Wangmo Dorji to come up with the idea.

The first National Flag of Bhutan was a bi-color with yellow on the top and red on the bottom. It had green dragon along the line of two fields in the middle, facing they fly end.

Lharip Taw Taw, one of the few painters available to the royal court at the time, is said to have embroidered the flag.

It was displayed in 1949 at the signing of the Indo-Bhutan Treaty at Darjeeling in India.

Second Version of Bhutan’s Flag

National Flag of Bhutan was modified during the tour of His Majesty the Third King, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck to the eastern Bhutan in the 1950s.  The photographs of first version was used as a base. This color of the dragon was changed to white.

Third Version of Bhutan Flag

Once, lower triangle of flag was red

As the square National Flag of Bhutan hoisted near Dechencholing Palace, did not flutter like the rectangular Indian national flag, another change in design was inevitable.

First, the shape of the flag was made to rectangle from square.

Then the parallel bi-color of the flag was embroidered diagonally with yellow field in the upper triangle and red in the lower triangle. The dragon, which was parallel, had to fly diagonally along the line.  

The reason for dividing the flag diagonally was because the flag always slumped when hoisted and dragon faced the earth.

Fourth and the Present Bhutan Flag

The present National Flag of Bhutan

The lower triangle of red color was changed to orange in the late 1960s on the command of the Third King.

After subsequent changes in design, the present National Flag of Bhutan adopted in 1972.

Significance of the Flag of Bhutan

1. Yellow: the upper triangle

The yellow signifies civil tradition, and embodies His Majesty’s being. His Majesty is the summit of Bhutan and wears Yellow Kabney.

2. Orange: the lower triangle

The orange signifies monastic tradition of Buddha’s teachings. Moreover, it signifies that the traditions of Kagyud and Nyingma flourish in harmony.

3. Adjoining of yellow and orange

The adjoining of two colors represents the oneness of Bhutanese people. It also signifies having monastic and civil traditions.

4. White dragon with jewels in claws

The dragon signifies Bhutan, the Land of Thunder Dragon. It also represents the people, Drukpa, the Bhutanese.

The white color of dragon signifies the purity of inner thoughts and deeds that unite all the ethnically and linguistically diverse peoples of Bhutan.

The jewels held in the dragon’s claws represent Bhutan’s wealth and prosperity while the snarling mouth of the dragon represents the security and protection of Bhutanese people by guardian deities.

Code of Conduct

National Flag hoisted at the Tashichodzong, Thimphu

The National Assembly of Bhutan codified a code of conduct in 1972 to formalize the Bhutan National Flag’s design and establish protocol regarding acceptable flag sizes and conditions for flying the flag.

2 thoughts on “Flag of Bhutan: History and Significance

  1. Great information s on cultural aspect of your country. Congratulations. Beautiful.

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