Thursday, 27 November 2008

Bhutan : His Majesty graces Gangtey Goenpa

26 November, 2008 - The 66-year old nun met with His Majesty the King, spoke to him, and offered thridar at the courtyard of the Gangtey Lhakhang where she was told His Majesty would visit. His Majesty accepted her thridar and in return presented to her a watch.

Kencho Wangmo said she would cherish the moment for the rest of her life. “I will always wear it and learn to guide my prayers that I’ll offer to His Majesty,” she said.

Hundreds of people from Bjena, Phobjikha and Gangtey under Wangduephodrang dzongkhag gathered to celebrate His Majesty’s Coronation on November 24, when His Majesty visited the 395-year-old restored Gangtey Sang Nga Choling monastery, the seat of the Pema Lingpa lineage, and prayed for the happiness and the well being of the people, continued peace, prosperity and security of the country, and long life of His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo.

The monks and gomchens of Gangtey shedra and gomdey and the people received His Majesty in a traditional chipdrel procession to the lhakhang.

Led by Gangteng Trulku, monks and gomchens offered prayers of Tshepa Mey Ngidup Lawang followed by Zhugdrel Phunsum Tshogpa, and offerings of Ku Sung Thuk Mendrel and Tashi Zey Gyed to His Majesty.

His Majesty offered one thousand butter lamps at the dukhang to pay homage to Terton Pema Lingpa, the ancestor of the Wangchuck dynasty.

After the ceremony, His Majesty the King spent the rest of the day with the people and students.

Most people felt they were fortunate to offer their first thridar to His Majesty the King right after the coronation celebrations in Thimphu. “We’re fortunate because our Druk Gyalpo visited our village first after ascending the throne,” said Pema Choden, 48.

A group of 40 pilgrims from Dashang Kagyuling, a Buddhist institute based in France, who came to visit Gangtey Goenpa, was enthralled by the moment.

“We were on pilgrimage and never thought we’d see and offer thridar to the Monarch,” said Frances Cardot. “I’ll carry the memory back home.”

“I’ve never seen such a King, who smiled at everyone, shook hands with each individual and cared genuinely,” said another pilgrim, Jacqueline Juerdous.

By Rinzin Wangchuk

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Bhutan : Peaceful Dragon: Textiles Arts from the Kingdom of Bhutan begins

November 22: The ancient city of Augsburg in Germany is the venue of the Exhibition of Bhutanese textiles. Entitled “Peaceful Dragon: Textiles Arts from the Kingdom of Bhutan”, the exhibition was inaugurated yesterday by Her Majesty the Queen Mother Ashi Sangay Choden Wangchuck.

Augsburg is a very old city in Germany and in fact was once upon a time a textile powerhouse. Today this picturesque city is the venue of the Exhibition of Bhutanese textiles titled- Peaceful Dragon: Textiles Arts from the Kingdom of Bhutan.

At the exhibition, visitors will get the chance to see fine specimen of Bhutanese textiles art ranging from the secular to the spiritual. Applique thangkas, royal namzas and intricately woven kiras that showcase the brilliance of Bhutan’s textile heritage and accessories like komas are on display at the museum.

The festival is being held at the Maximilian Museum. Artists and officials from the Textile Museum and the Royal Textile Academy came to Augsburg in advance to lay the ground for the exhibition.

The exhibition was inaugurated yesterday by Her Majesty the Queen Mother Ashi Sangay Choden Wangchuck. Their Royal Highness the Princes Dasho Khamsum Singye Wangchuck and Princess Ashi Euphelma Choden Wangchuck will also grace the opening of the exhibition.

The exhibition’s opening will feature traditional Bhutanese ceremonies including Chipdrel and Marchhang. Clad in colorful costumes unique to Bhutan and dressed in their tshechu best, artists from the Royal Academy of Performing Arts will perform mask dances and traditional Bhutanese songs and dances.

Our reporter Tshewang Dendup says winter in Germany and Europe at large is marked by grey skies and cold weather. The Bhutanese delegation in Germany however has been receiving warm and cordial receptions from the people of Germany.

The historic events of 2008 including the Coronation of His Majesty the Druk Gyalpo which was covered by the German media has not only created awareness of Bhutan amongst the people of Germany but also generated a lot of goodwill.

The exhibition is an international celebration of the auspicious events of the Coronation of His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck as the Fifth Hereditary King of Bhutan, the Centenary of the Bhutanese Monarchy and the successful transition to a full fledged parliamentary democracy this year.

After its debut at the Maximilian Museum in Augsburg, the exhibition will travel to the city of Rosenheim where it will be on display from mid February to April 2009.

Friday, 21 November 2008

Bhutan : Tsirang Dzong consecrated

November 21: His Holiness the Je Khenpo consecrated the new Tsirang dzong on November 19. The Prime Minister Lyonchhen Jigmi Y. Thinley was the chief guest at the consecration ceremony.

The Tashi Rabney or the consecration ceremony of the new Tsirang dzong began with Sunchey at the Kunerey led by His Holiness the Je Khnepo.

The dzong is located around half a kilometer from the Damphu town. The construction of the dzong began in January 2004. It was constructed at a cost of over Nu. 147 million.

The dzong will serve as the administrative headquarter of Tsirang dzongkhag and house about 65 offices and the DYT Hall. The dzong, however, will not house the Judiciary and the Clergy.

The Project Engineer Lhabten Dorji said the dzong was actually due for completion in March this year. He said shortage of timber, skilled manpower and other construction material delayed the works. Lhabten Dorji said some 150 skilled workers were involved in the construction. Apart from daily wage workers, villagers from the 12 geogs of the Dzongkhag made labour contribution.

The courtyard of the dzong was packed with people from the 12 geogs who came for the consecration ceremony.

Some of the people said the dzong will bring all sectors under one roof. This, they said will ease the administrative burden. People said earlier when offices were located in different places it took them several days to get their work done.

Various cultural programmes were presented by the students and the people of the Dzongkhag.

The Education minister Lyonpo Thakhur Singh Powdyel, the Home and Cultural Affairs minister Lyonpo Minjur Dorji, Dzongdas, Drangpons and Lam Netens from Wangdue, Punakha and Sarpang dzongkhags also attended the consecration ceremony.

Monday, 17 November 2008

Bhutan : Bhutanese students in Darjeeling celebrate His Majesty’s coronation

November 17: The Coronation and the Centenary celebrations have not been confined within the borders of Bhutan. The events have also been celebrated by Bhutanese working and studying abroad and well wishers and friends of Bhutan in various parts of the world, from the hill station of Darjeeling in India to The Hague in the Netherlands and Perth in Australia. The latest of these celebrations was held by Bhutanese Students Association (BSA) in Darjeeling.

The celebration on Friday was held at St. Joseph’s School, the alma mater of His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo. Around 350 students from six Colleges in Darjeeling and some 80 students from St. Joseph’s School took part in the celebrations.

The programme began with the signing of the National Anthem.

The Principal of St. Joseph’s School Father Kinley Tshering gave a speech highlighting the importance of the Coronation and Centenary celebrations. He said the youth of Bhutan must think of what they can do for their country. The Association members also celebrated the 53rd Birth Anniversary of His Majesty the 4th Druk Gyalpo.

Bhutanese Students Association’s President Dawa Samdrup thanked the government for providing financial support for coronation and centenary celebrations.

Bhutanese students said they are happy for being able to take part in the celebrations though they are away from home.

Coinciding with the programme, the Bhutanese Students Association organized a cultural show and hosted a lunch to welcome new students joining the school.

Currently there are around 400 Bhutanese studying in Darjeeling.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Bhutan : His Majesty confers the Order of the Druk Gyalpo

November 16: His Majesty the King conferred the Order of the Druk Gyalpo (1st class) to His Holiness Je Thrizur Tenzin Dendup and Her Majesty the Royal Grandmother Ashi Kesang Choeden Wangchuck yesterday. The ceremony took place at the throne room in the Tashichhodzong.

At the throne room in the Tashichhodzong, the momentous ceremony began with a Zhugdrel Phuensum Tshogpa followed by the marchang ceremony. His Majesty then conferred the order of the Druk Gyalpo (1st class) to His Holiness Je Thrizur Tenzin Dendup and Her Majesty the Royal Grandmother Ashi Kesang Choeden Wangchuck at the Tashichhodzong. His Majesty also offered Tashi Khadhar to His Holiness and Her Majesty the Royal Grandmother.

The Order of the Druk Gyalpo (1st Class) is the nation’s highest honour bestowed upon an individual who has devoted a lifetime of service to the Tsa-wa-sum. His Holiness and Her Majesty are the first recipients of this honour. Present at the ceremony were the fourth Druk Gyalpo, Their Majesties the Queenmothers, Their Royal Highnesses the Princes and Princesses and members of the Royal Family.

At the age of 84, His Holiness Je Tenzin Dendup is one of the most learned and prominent Drukpa Kayju Buddhist Masters of our time. Under the command of the Fourth Druk Gyalpo His Holiness brought about major reforms in the Zhung Dratshang thereby further strengthening and consolidating the institution and instituting the first Buddhist Shedra or Higher Learning Colleges at Tango and Cheri in Thimphu.

In 1967, His Holiness became the first Lopen or master of the then newly instituted Dubdey at Tango. He became the Dorji Lopen in 1985 and a year later, His Holiness became the 68th Je Khenpo.

In 1990, His Holiness relinquished the title of Je Khenpo, bringing an end to an illustrious career that spanned over five decades. However, His Holiness continues to be the patron of Tango and Cheri Buddhist Shedra, and wields immense influence in the world’s Buddhist and larger spiritual community.

Her Majesty the Royal Grandmother Ashi Kesang Choeden Wangchuck was born in 1930 in Kalimpong to Raja Sonam Tobgye Dorji and Mayum Choying Wongmo Dorji. She pursued her early education in St Joseph’s Convent in Kalimpong and later studied at House of Citizenship in England.

She became Queen to His Majesty the Third Druk Gyalpo Jigme Dorji Wangchuck in 1951 at Paro and on the November 11, 1955, His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo Jigme Singye Wangchuck was born.

Her Majesty the Royal Grandmother has been one of the most important patrons of the living heritage and Buddha Dharma of Bhutan. Her Majesty has been responsible for the protection and restoration of many important national treasures, the construction of new religious monuments and the support of many religious institutions and practices throughout the kingdom.

Her Majesty has also been a major patron of annual prayers and pujas conducted for the well-being and security of the King, Country and People. Her Majesty’s keen interest in preserving the unique art, architecture and cultural heritage of Bhutan and promoting research and scholarship on the kingdom are other important contributions. Her Majesty has lived a lifetime of service to three generations of Kings and their people.

His Majesty the fourth Druk Gyalpo, their Majesties the Queenmothers, their Royal Highnesses the Princes and Princesses and the members of the Royal Family offered Tashi Khadhar to His Holiness the Je Thrizur and Her Majesty the Royal Grandmother.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008


It is with immense joy that we are gathered together on this most auspicious day. In these last 100 years the dreams and aspirations of our forefathers and the vision of our Kings have been fulfilled beyond all expectations. The wise and selfless leadership of our kings, the sacrifice and hard work of generations of Bhutanese and the special bond between the People and King have given us this unique and special nation – a jewel of the earth.

Two years ago, at a time of profound change I came onto the Throne as a young King. You, my people, in the spirit of generations past, worked with me with complete faith and gave me your wholehearted cooperation and goodwill. Thus, in these two short years while we have taken gigantic steps towards strengthening our nation, we have done so in a calm, deliberate manner in complete harmony. It is with great pride that we stand as a new democracy, having successfully completed an unprecedented and historic transition.

Yet we must always remember that as our country, in these changing times finds immense new challenges and opportunities, whatever work we do, whatever goals we have – and no matter how these may change in this changing world – ultimately without peace, security and happiness we have nothing. That is the essence of the philosophy of Gross National Happiness. Our most important goal is the peace and happiness of our people and the security and sovereignty of the nation.

Our generation of Bhutanese have been gifted a strong, dynamic nation by our forefathers. I am confident that as long as we are willing to work with their commitment and dedication and follow their example we can bring greater peace, happiness and prosperity to our country.

I am confident because I know the worth and character of our people. You are the true jewel of this nation. As citizens of a spiritual land you treasure the qualities of a good human being – honesty, kindness, charity, integrity, unity, respect for our culture and traditions, love for our country and for God. Throughout our history our parents have upheld these values and placed the common good above the self.

My deepest concern is that as the world changes we may lose these fundamental values on which rest our character as a nation and people. It is critical that we are able to recognize Bhutanese character irrespective of how far we look back into the past or into the future. The Bhutan we see is vastly different - unrecognizable even - when compared to the Bhutan in the time of our first King. Yet, the character of our people and the nature of our fundamental values have remained unchanged. Henceforth, as even more dramatic changes transform the world and our nation, as long as we continue to pursue the simple and timeless goal of being good human beings, and as long as we strive to build a nation that stands for everything that is good, we can ensure that our future generations for hundreds of years will live in happiness and peace.

It is not because I am King that I ask these of you. Destiny has put me here. It is with immense gratitude and humility that at this young age, I assume the sacred duty to serve a special people and country. Throughout my reign I will never rule you as a King. I will protect you as a parent, care for you as a brother and serve you as a son. I shall give you everything and keep nothing; I shall live such a life as a good human being that you may find it worthy to serve as an example for your children; I have no personal goals other than to fulfill your hopes and aspirations. I shall always serve you, day and night, in the spirit of kindness, justice and equality. As the king of a Buddhist nation, my duty is not only to ensure your happiness today but to create the fertile ground from which you may gain the fruits of spiritual pursuit and attain good Karma.

This is how I shall serve you as King.

I cannot end without addressing our most important citizens - our youth. The future of our nation depends on the worth, capabilities and motivation of today’s youth. Therefore, I will not rest until I have given you the inspiration, knowledge and skills so that you will not only fulfill your own aspirations but be of immense worth to the nation. This is my sacred duty. A strong motivated young Bhutan guarantees a strong bright future.

The future is neither unseen nor unknown. It is what we make of it. What work we do with our two hands today will shape the future of our nation. Our children’s tomorrow has to be created by us today.

I end with a prayer for Bhutan - that the sun of peace and happiness may forever shine on our people. I also pray that while I am but King of a small Himalayan nation, I may in my time be able to do much to promote the greater wellbeing and happiness of all people in this world – of all sentient beings.

His Majesty King Jigme Khesar crowned 5th Druk Gyalpo

November 8: The sun of happiness was shining brightly all over Bhutan as His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck was crowned as the Fifth Druk Gyalpo in the sacrosanct Chamber of the Golden Throne in Tashichhodzong on November 6.

The Coronation of His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck is a momentous historic event, rare and unique as it was His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo who Crowned His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck as the Fifth Hereditary King of Bhutan.

The ceremony began early in the morning with the monks of the Zhung Dratshang performing Lhasang Tashi Raykong or incense offering to the guardian deities in the royal altar room adjacent to the chamber of the Golden Throne.

This was followed by the Pel Dechog Khorlo Dompi Soong Chhoe or the invocation of the tutelary deity at the Kuenra. Three sacred thongdroels of the Buddha and Bodhisattvas were also unfurled.

His Majesty the King was escorted from the Dechencholing palace by the Prime Minister Lyonchhen Jigmi Y. Thinley, the Works and Human Settlement Minister Lyonpo Yeshey Zimba and Education Minister Lyonpo Thakur Singh Powdyel to the Tashichhodzong.

At the main ceremonial gate at Dechen Zam, His Majesty was received by the Chief Justice Lyonpo Sonam Tobgay, Speaker Jigme Tshultim, opposition leader Tshering Tobgay, the Chairperson of the National Council Namgay Penjore, cabinet ministers and senior government officials. His Majesty was escorted into the Tashichhodzong in an elaborate chhipdrel procession.

At the Tashichhodzong, His Majesty was received by His Majesty the fourth Druk Gyalpo and His Holiness the Je Khenpo. His Majesty was escorted to the dais where he stood facing the Guru Thongdroel. His Majesty was presented the dance of the heroes by the Bji Bi Pawos. Following that marchhang was offered by the Royal Chamberlain Dasho Penjore, the Minister of Home and Cultural Affairs Lyonpo Minjur Dorji and the venerable Tshugla Lopen of the Zhung Dratshang Lopen Samten Dorji.

In the throne room, His Majesty stood facing His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo and His Holiness the Je Khenpo. His Holiness the Je Khenpo and the monks recited the Coronation sutras. His Holiness then proceeded to the altar, raised the Raven Crown from the altar with tashi khaddar and delivered it to His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo.

As the coronation serda commenced both within and outside the chamber, His Majesty the King ascended the pedestal in front of the supreme Golden Throne. His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo then crowned His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck as the fifth hereditary king of Bhutan. His Majesty the King then ascended the Supreme Golden Throne.

This was followed by Zhug-drel Phuensum Tshogpi and marchang ceremony.

His Majesty the King was then offered the symbols of Ku, Soong, Thuk, Yonten and Thrinley or the body, speech, mind, qualities and deeds.

His Holiness the Je Khenpo made offerings of empowerment to His Majesty the King. It began with the offering of Gyalse Na-duen or the seven precious objects of the Universal Emperor, followed by the offering of Tashi Zegye or the eight auspicious elements.

The Tashi Ngasoel ceremony in the grand chamber of the supreme golden throne concluded with the recitation of Moenlam Drubgyal and Deshey Toenpa.

The Secretary to His Majesty the King then conveyed the Crown to altar in the kuenrey.

Following this, His Majesty the 4th Druk Gyalpo, offered thridar to His Majesty the King followed by His Holiness the Je Khenpo, the President of India, Her Majesty the Royal Grand Mother, their Majesties the Queen Mothers, members of the Royal Family, the Prime Minister and the dignitaries present in the throne room.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Bhutan : His Majesty Jigme Khesar, truly a people's King

November 3: Tens of thousands of people waited along the way burning aromatic herbs and incense sticks as His Majesty the King returned to the capital from Punakha yesterday.

Many waved the national flag. Others held Tashi Khadhar and symbolic offerings of grains and fruits in their hand. The elderly waited patiently for their monarch with their hands held together in reverence and in prayer.

The road was filled with students waving the national flags. Shop owners and residents dressed in their finery occupied every space available. Bhutanese from all walks of life came out in their holiday best.

As the royal procession returned to the capital, the people of Bhutan were in a festive mood as they paid their tribute, affirmed their loyalty and expressed their love and affection to their Druk Gyalpo.

They awaited the arrival of His Majesty Jigme Khesar with offerings of grains and fruits. Many set up shrines with portraits of His Majesty. As the fragrant smoke of the incense and the saang wafted into the clear blue November sky, the atmosphere was indeed a special one, an experience of a lifetime.

At Simtokha, His Majesty the King was received by the Works and Human Settlement Minister Lyonpo Yeshey Zimba, the trainees of the Royal Institute of Management and the public.

Deeply moved by the spontaneous expression of love and affection for their monarch, His Majesty the king alighted from the vehicle and walked on foot from Simtokha all the way to the Lingkana, passing along the expressway and through the main street of the town.

Along the way, His Majesty tried to speak to as many people as possible. Some of the people who have been waiting along the way, especially the elderly moved by the historic occasion broke down with joy.

Upon arrival at the gate of the Royal Cottage in the Lingkana, His Majesty the King was received by cabinet ministers and senior government officials. His Majesty the king was then escorted in chipdrel procession to the Royal Cottage.

At the Lingkana Royal Cottage, His Majesty was presented a guard of honor by the Royal Body Guards. It was followed by a Marchang ceremony.

Bhutan : His Majesty the King receives the sacred Dhar Nye-Nga from Machen at the Puna Dewai Chenpoi Phodrang

November 3: His Majesty the King received the sacred Dhar Nye-Nga from the holy Machen at the Puna Dewai Chenpoi Phodrang on November 1.

The sacred ceremony took place at the inner sanctum of the Machen Lhakhang.

The ceremony began in the early hours with Tsepamey Sungchoed led by His Holiness the 70th Je Khenpo and performed by the Zhung Dratsahng.

The sacred Sungchoed is meant to enable His Holiness and the monks to receive His Majesty the King. The ceremony began with Chipdrel procession. Lopnes of Zhung Dratshang, the Minister of Home and Cultural Affairs, officials from Punakha Dzongkhag and community leaders lined up along the way leading to the courtyard of the PDCP Dzong to receive His Majesty.

His Majesty was escorted by the Prime Minister, Chief Justice and Cabinet ministers from the Lingka.

At the main courtyard, His Majesty was received by Dratshang Mang, Latruels, and Lam Netens. At the middle of the courtyard, His Majesty was received by the Speaker, the Chairman of the National Council and the Opposition Leader. The Chipdrel procession leads to the Machen courtyard where His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo and members of the royal family were already assembled.

Here, His Majesty the King exchanged Jeldhar with His Majesty the fourth Druk Gyalpo and His Holiness the Je Khenpo.

At the Machen courtyard, the Gyalpoi Droyner offered the Marchang. Exactly at 10 am, His Majesty the King accompanied by His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo and His Holiness the Je Khenpo entered the Machen Lhakhang.

At 10:03 am, the sacred ceremony at the Machey Lhakhang began with His Majesty the King, His Majesty the fourth Druk Gyalpo and His Holiness paying obeisance to the holy Marchen.

His Majesty the King and His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo stands before the holy marchen and His Holiness stands facing His Majesty.

His Majesty is offered Wangkurwi Throesel or purification before empowerment with virtues of Kings by His Holiness the Je Khenpo.

The Serda or the sound of religion from the ante chamber of the Machey Lakhang joined by the Serda inside the Kuenra and the roof top of the Dzong signals His Majesty receiving of sacred Dhar Nye-Nga or the sacred sachets of silk blessed by the holy marchen.

The Dhar Nye-Nga is received each time a royal successor to the golden throne is invested as King.

The sacred ceremony inside the Machen ended with Moenlam and Tashi or concluding prayer or dedication.

The scared Machen Lhakhang has the sacred relics of Zhanbdrung Ngawang Namgyal resting in Thudham or permanent retreat.