National Sport of Bhutan: Archery

Archery is the National Sport of Bhutan since 1971 when the Kingdom became a member of United Nations. This traditional sport has been a popular sport/game among the Bhutanese. There are archery fields in every village. There are many practices and competitions throughout the country.

The shooting distance is 145 meters, more than double of the Olympic standard which is 70 meters! The bows are made of bamboo and the arrows are made of bamboo or reed. Bhutanese archery teams consists of 13 members and they wear traditional Bhutanese costume even when they are practicing.

Watching it real life in Thimphu, I was amazed at the distance and the fact that the archery team would stand around a small target. It takes a lot of physical strength and skill to shoot that distance without hitting anyone across the field! The competing team would shout with hand motions to point out how better shoot the next shot. That’s also called “verbal battle” which consists of teasing words I think. When the target is hit, the competing team would sing and dance facing the target, not the competitors. Interesting!

When you travel in Bhutan, archery is one of the activities for tourists. Of course you are not going to shoot 145 meters. But give it a try just for fun. Why not?


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