Coronation of last king of South Asia on Thursday

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Thimphu, Nov 4 (UNI) The tiny Himalayan kingdom Bhutan shall witness coronation of its new king Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck on Thursday.

At the stroke of 0831 hrs on that day at Thimphu, the Coronation of South Asia's last king will begin, formally announcing the ''change.'' This kingdom, which has given importance to Gross National happiness, is already in seventh heaven ready to witness the coronation after 34 years.

The ceremony will take place in the Golden Throne Room at Tashichhodzong in the presence of the members of the royal family, the President of India, Mrs Pratibha Patil, Lyonchhen Jigmi Y Thinley and other Bhutanese leaders, Congress President Sonia Gandhi and her family, who are friends of the royal family, and other dignitaries.

The new king's father, Jigmye Singye Wangchuk was one of the rare monarchs who not only encouraged active democracy but oversaw a long tedious training of democracy to the whole populace of the country and then voluntarily handed over the power to the democratically elected government early this year. Just across the border Nepal saw a bitter and bloody transition to democracy.

It is part of a process of cautious and calibrated modernisation driven by the new king's father, 52-year-old Jigme Singye Wangchuck, who abdicated two years ago after forcing his reluctant and largely adoring subjects to accept democracy.

As a part of the coronation ceremony, the new king will be offered Gyalse Na-duen (seven precious objects of the Universal Emperor) for worldly and spiritual mastery, inexhaustible speed, strength, love, wisdom, and power by His Holiness the Je Khenpo as an offering of empowerment.

The new king will also receive Tashi Zegye (eight auspicious elements) that symbolise wisdom, long life, concentration, mindfulness, understanding, purity, right action and speech. His Majesty will then receive Mendrey, the objects of Ku (body), Soong (speech), Thuk (mind), Yonten (qualities) and Thrinley (deeds) from representatives of the dratshang, government and people.

After the ceremony, members of the royal family, the Je Khenpo, the Prime Minister and all the dignitaries at the Royal Throne room will offer thridar (felicitation scarf). The new king will then attend another ceremony at the Dratshang Kuenra, where the Je Khenpo will offer the Raven Crown with the chanting of the Coronation sutra.

The ceremony will be attended by Truelkus and Lams, more than 30 ambassadors representing the international community, and senior government officials, who will all offer the thridar to His Majesty.

About 20,000 people are expected to offer the thridar to His Majesty at the Tendrey Thang in the afternoon. Six representatives of the Bhutanese society will offer the new king the symbols of traditional Medrey, Ku, Soong, Thuk, Yonten and Thrinley.

The last Coronation Bhutan saw was nearly 35 years ago in 1974, when the Fourth King, His Majesty Jigme Singey Wangchuk was crowned at the age of 17. With his formal coronation, the 28-year-old Oxford-educated Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck becomes the world's youngest reigning monarch.

UNI MT RP HS1641

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