Tuesday, 25 October 2011

In A Fairy Tale Kingdom of Bhutan- II


The next big national event that I witnessed was in 2008 when the nation celebrated the Centenary Coronation. I was then a first year student studying in college, which is away from home. If ever missed, it is going to be a great regret for me but our Dean in the college was so kind to grant us leave to attend the great celebration with the fellow citizens back home.

When His Majesty the Fourth DrukGyalpo abdicated the throne and handed over the responsibilities of the king to the then Crown Prince Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck on 14th December 2006, the whole nation was startled and shed their tears silently, but little did we knew that the new king will keep the hopes of people alive and hearts contended. 
2008 Crowning Ceremony.
On the morning of November 1, when His Majesty was formally empowered as the Fifth Druk Gyalpo in a unique and sacred empowerment ceremony in the sacred PungthangDewaChenpoi Phodrang, the nation rejoiced the fairy tale event in a fairy tale kingdom. It was on November 6 that the world witnessed a historical phenomenon when the fourth King Jigme Singye Wangchuck offered the Raven Crown to His Majesty the King, Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck in the sacred chamber of TashiChhoDzong. For the Bhutanese it was an overwhelming moment with the merging of past, present and future. For the first time in history of our country, a father king crowned his son.

It was for the first time that I saw my Kings in person. Sitting in one corners of the packed Changlimithang stadium, seeing and hearing my king in real was the most euphoric moment in my life.
"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 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 equity."
The divine speech still reverberate my ears and after almost six years of reign as a king, we have seen his majesty keeping his sacred words. With his charming look, reassuring smile, and twinkling eyes with playful mischief, His Majesty is always there to comfort the people by travelling length and breadth of the country when earthquake has shook, fire has ragged, rivers has flooded, granting Kidu to the needy ones tirelessly  thus beguiling the entire nation.

On May 20 this year, His Majesty the King announced his intention to wed Jetsun Pema in October 2011, which filled the Bhutanese atmosphere with love and affection. The whole nation waited with pride and unity for the big October Day to come and when it finally came, Drukyul was awash with colors of autumn in one hand and festivity of Royal Wedding on the other.
"She was a shy 7 and he was a handsome 17 when they first exchanged glances at a family picnic. She clung to the young prince asking him to take her with him. The promise he made was that when she grow up, if he is single and not married, and if she is single and not married, then they would marry."
 14 years flashed by. He turned into a dashing king, and she a ravishing beauty and destiny came full circle on October 13 2011.
After Crowning in Punakha. wangyel stud.
Despite having a tight schedule with tiresome field-works for the partial fulfillment of the final year curricula, my friend and I approached the office of the warden to seek leave in name of Historic Royal Wedding, which he granted so generously. So I could once again become a part of the Historic event of a lifetime opportunity to witness our king getting married. 
Back home on 13th October, I watched the sacred ceremonies which took place in the Kuenra and Chambers of Punakha Dzong LIVE on television with my relatives. After the empowerment of five sacred scarves from the Machen Lhakhang of Zhabdrung by His majesty the fourth king to K5 and Queen, crowning the Queen by His Majesty K5 in front of his father and of course the entire nation was the most spectacular scene that we the people have witnessed.

To see the King and Queen and to be a part of history in making, we then proceeded towards Punakha from the dusty valley of Bajothang. People swarmed Punakha dzong in thousands not only to celebrate the royal wedding but to see in person and express their joy and prayers to the Dharma King and Dakini Queen. The paddy fields nearby were near ripening, festoons of flags were fluttering everywhere, and with the sky partially casted with clouds, the heat was mild and was a perfect weather to join the crowd in LhatsoThang beside Punakha dzong, which actually is one of the hottest places in Bhutan.

A Scene from Punakha: wangyel studio

Amid the crowd as I sit and watch the cultural programmes, I could have a glimpse of my King holding the hand of the young graceful Queen and interacting with the people. That was the second chance that I could see my king and first time, the king and queen together. I was extremely happy and felt contended with my purpose of taking part in the grand celebration. To the folk of tourists, his majesty thanked them and asked them to just relax and enjoy their stay. Such a day, which will remain in the history of Bhutan, is also one of the unforgettable days of my life.

source: wangyel studio.
After learning that on 14th, the royal couple will return to their palace in Thimphu from Punakha, I also went to Thimphu on that same evening of October 13. The next day people from all walks of life waited for hours and his majesty nearly walked the entire stretch from Punakha to Thimphu  meeeitng with the people, students and tourists so by the time, His Majesty crossed the crowded Norzin lam, which was illuminated with colourful LED, it was already dark. How tired our newly wed King and Queen would be yet we could see happiness and satisfaction in theim having meet with their subjects on such a special occasion.

Changlimithang Crowd via Nokia Mobile.
On the third day i.e., on 15th after watching the ceremonies that took place in TashiChhoDzong on television, I rushed to the Changlimithang stadium to join the crowd for celebration but I was too late as the stadium was already packed to its capacity. While many of the local spectators returned back, I patiently waited amid the crowd not bothering about the where about of my friends and cousins, so I could finally pierce into the stadium only at the right time when His majesty kissed the Queen three times in front of the crowd. So that particular moment made my day complete. One special cultural programme that caught the attention of all the audience was the WangZhey, in which His majesty and Prime Minister accompanied by some MPs took part in it. It is only in the land of Happiness that the King entertains his people.
The most anticipated Royal Wedding lasted for three days starting from 13th to 15th October but the memories created in three days will remain deeply engraved in the hearts of every Bhutanese. With prayers on lips and wishes from heart, we the citizens express our heartiest congratulation to our king and queen. May many such divine souls rule this mythical land of Palden Drukpa, and may Happiness remains synonymous with the tiny Drukyul forever. 
For myself, I feel very lucky to have taken part in such Historic Celebrations all the time and even though the great days were over, the ceremonies of Serdreng and Chhipdrel with long queue of monks in red robes, the sounds of clashing cymbals and beats of gongs and drums, the pleasing musics of clarinets and trumpets, and rhythmic moves of the Bjipi Pawo and folk dancers, leading our charming King and beautiful Queen still resonates and envisages in my thoughts each passing day.

Palden Drukpa Gyalo.

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