President leave for Bhutan to attend coronation ceremony

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New Delhi, Nov 5: President Pratibha Devisingh Patil today left for Bhutan to be the Chief Guest at the coronation ceremony of the fifth king of Bhutan Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck.

Ms Patil is being accompanied by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee for the grand three-day-long ceremony. UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, who is a friend of the Bhutanese Royal family, would also witness the grand enthronement ceremony in the world's youngest democracy.

The occasion would also mark the completion of 100-year rule of the Wangchuk dynasty in the Himalayan Kingdom, which quantifies its prosperity by the Gross National Happiness.

The 28-eight-year-old Namgyal, who took over in December 2006 following the sudden abdication of his father Jigme Singye Wangchuck, would be formally enthroned after the traditional coronation ceremony.

Bhutan, which recently went to the polls and has emerged as the world's youngest democracy, would receive guests from 32 countries on this occasion. The ceremony is expected to be grand and the government has declared a week-long holiday from tomorrow.

Jigme Khesar Namgyal and his father share the unique milestone of being the youngest monarchs of their time. Jigme Singye Wangchuck had ascended the throne at 17 years of age in 1972 and ruled the country for 34 years. Now, Namgyal, who received education in United Kingdom and military training in India, would take over as King of Himalayan Kingdom situated between India and China.

The kingdom 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, Ms 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.

As 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 Bhutanese society will offer the new king the symbols of traditional Medrey, Ku, Soong, Thuk, Yonten and Thrinley.

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.


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