Landlocked between China in the north and India in the south, east, and west, Bhutan is a small country with an area of 46,500 square kilometers. Its geography is characteristic of the Eastern Himalayas with elevation ranging from 150 meters above sea level in the south to more than 7,300 meters in the north. It is divided into three zones. The southern zone is characteristic of low foothills and dense tropical forests. With an average temperature of 20 degrees centigrade, this region is hot and humid. The central zone is the climate in the lower valleys is semi-tropical, most of the region is alpine with a monsoon. The central zone is divided into three regions: Western, Central, and Eastern Bhutan. The northern zone stretches from west to east between 6800 meters to 7400 meters, forming part of the Great Himalayas.
Buddhism is practiced throughout the country and the majority of the Bhutanese are Buddhist. Hinduism is practiced particularly in Southern Bhutan among the Bhutanese of Nepali origin. As practiced by the Southern Bhutanese, Hindu religion has many common saints and divinities with Vajrayana Buddhism, the school of religion prevalent in Bhutan. The main protective deity of the country, Yeshey Gonpo or Mahakala, is a Tantric Buddhist form of Hindu God Shiva and often appears in the form of a raven. Prior to the advent of Buddhism, various forms of animistic religions including Bon were followed in Bhutan. In some parts of the country, these traditions and rituals are still practiced by minority groups.