Wangchuck coronated as fifth king of Bhutan

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Thimphu, Nov 6: In an elaborate sacred ceremony marked with chanting of sacred Buddhist sutras, Oxford-educated and Indian-trained Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck was on Thursday, Nov 6 coronated as the fifth King of Bhutan. The enthronement ceremony was meant to bestow on the 28-year-old monarch ''wisdom, compassion, long life and empower with the virtue of fame and give fortitude to fight even the most difficult situation the newest democracy may face.'' Chief Abbot Truklu Jigme Choeda gave symbolic Buddhist objects of silver and gold that would empower the King and provide him with fame and all other virtues. Then the formal coronation ceremony formalised the abdication of the fourth King Jigme Singye Wangchuk, who had left the throne in December 2006 and paved way for his son who has emerged as the youngest King of South Asia.

The coronation ceremony had been kept secret, with only close family members and Prime Minister Jigme Y Thinley being allowed inside the sacred ancient monestry, where the rituals were conducted. Only Indian President Pratibha Devisingh Patil, who arrived here to be the Chief Guest for the coronation, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and her children, who are family friends of the royal family, witnessed the historic occasion.

Mediapersons and guests from 32 countries, who had converged to witness the historic event, however, had to be satisfied with the live coverage done by an unmanned camera inside the ancient monastery.

Apart from limited space, the secrecy had been maintained, as the process involved a lot of symbolism and rituals, which should not be distracted by the movement of people and camera.

Bhutan is at present celebrating four special events, including the coronation ceremony, 100th anniversary of the Wangchuck Dynasty, transition to the constitutional monarchy and democracy this year, and fiftieth anniversary of former Indian Prime Minister Pt Jawaharlal Nehru's visit to the country which paved Indo-Bhutan Cooperation leading to the country's development.

These occasions are being celebrated on a grand scale with the capital Thimphu wearing a festive look and orange and brown national flags being Seen everywhere. Thimphu , which is basically a linear city with two major roads, has been spruced up with flags and banners indicating the popularity of the monarch even in a democratic set up.

The entire populace, especially children, were seen waving the Bhutanese flag and greeting the guests with warm smiles on the streets. Three days of national celebration with masked dances and ancient rituals will ironically mark another stage in Bhutan's gradual emergence into the modern world.

It was the ultimate empowerment of a Dharma King when in a ceremony, that was deeply spiritual, richly traditional, and shrouded in sacred mystical truths, King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck had received the Dar Na Nga on November 1. The Dar Na Nga, an arrangement of silk scarves in the five primary colours, representing the five elements, is a direct empowerment from the Zhabdrung himself. The Dar Na Nga is preserved in the Machhen Chhorten, which holds the Kudung (physical relics) of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel. It is returned to the Machhen Lhakhang in a chipdrel procession after the empowerment ceremony of the Kings.

Children, farmers, monks and nuns, foreign visitors, and people from all walks of life lined the road, lighting incense and making personal offerings and ceremonial scarves.

The fifth King's coronation was delayed even after the abdication of his father in December, 2006, as earlier the auspicious time had not Come and the highly religious and traditional Bhutanese society and royal family awaited the right moment. Meanwhile, he got training from his father in administration matters.

The new King, who is highly qualified, having received education in the US and Oxford and being trained in India, is extremely popular, not only among the royal family members, but also among the people residing in remote areas, whose lives he has touched through various philanthropic gestures.

The King would act as the Constitutional head in the new democratic set up and would work to ensure unity and security of the country. He is the most potent unifying and moral force in the country, through whom the people enjoy a sense of security and on whom, they place their hope, as he serves as an emotional anchor.

He is expected to be a force to ensure long-term sustanence of democracy in the country as the people's King.

The Wangchuck dynasty survived for 100 years, even in this era of international unrest, only due to the fact that they always worked to serve the people and not rule or govern them.

He is perhaps the most eligible bachelor Kings of the South Asia.

He is being described as compassionate and very gracious who shares good qualities of his father, following which the people of Bhutan are celebrating the occasion with joy and excitement.

UNI

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