Celebrations in Bhutan as
new king is crowned
Nov 6 (IANS) Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck Thursday became
the world's youngest reigning monarch and head of the newest
democracy after he was adorned with Bhutan's Raven Crown at
an ornate coronation ceremony here.
of giant gongs and Buddhist hymns echoed the white-walled
Golden Throne Room at Tashichhodzong, a fortress that is now
the seat of the government, as the fourth king Jigme Singye
Wangchuck handed over the crown to his eldest son at 8.31
a.m. (8.11 a.m. IST).
Oxford educated 28-year-old king has thus stepped into a new
stage of the royal lineage in this Shangri-la of jaw-dropping
by the four queen mothers Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck, Ashi
Tshering Pem Wangchuck, Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuck and
Ashi Sangay Choden Wangchuck, the young bachelor king looked
Khesar is the oldest son of the former Bhutanese king and
his third wife Ashi Tshering Yangdon. He has a younger sister
and brother as well as four half-sisters and three half-brothers
by his father's other three wives.
sitting at the coronation ceremony were a host of foreign
dignitaries, including Indian President Pratibha Patil and
Congress president Sonia Gandhi, and Bhutan Prime Minister
Jigmi Y. Thinley. Ambassadors of 23 countries were witness
to the historic ceremony.
of hymns followed traditional ritual offerings to the new
king in the form of eight auspicious articles - mirror, medicine,
curd, incense, fruit, right-whorled conch shell, vermillion
and yellow mustard.
followed another round of offerings - seven precious symbols
signifying devotion, valor and eternity, besides eight auspicious
signs symbolising truth and wisdom.
am delighted to be part of history as I witnessed the coronation
procession of the fourth king and now I am again waiting to
see the new king later at a public function," said Karma
Choden, an elderly woman, counting beads and chanting a silent
traditional ceremony with Buddhist rituals would be followed
by felicitations in the afternoon by more than 20,000 people
at Tendrel Thang, the ceremonial ground in Thimphu.
entire Thimphu city wears a festive look with men in colourful
full-sleeved robes tied at the waist called khos and women
dressed in sarong-like wraps called kiras lined up in the
street outside the fortress, waiting for a glimpse of the
will enjoy three days of national celebrations following Thursday's
other monarchs, the new king and his father are known to be
very popular as they invariably mingle with the commoners
and even walk down city and village streets.
greatest gift that I can ask for is this... being with you...my
people," the new king was quoted as saying by the local
media earlier this week.
Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, however, would not have the
same absolute powers as his predecessors - Bhutan held its
first parliamentary elections in March making a historic shift
from 100-year-old monarchy to democracy.
coronation is significant as it marks the end of an era (the
former king's rule) and the beginning of a new chapter in
Bhutan's history as the people has great hope and confidence
on the new king," Thinley, Bhutan's first democratically
elected prime minister, said after the coronation ceremony.
largely Buddhist kingdom of about 650,000 people grudgingly
marched towards democracy after the former king Jigme Singye
Wangchuck's sudden decision in December 2006 to abdicate the
throne in favour of his eldest son and announce parliamentary
elections to change with the times and relinquish absolute
then, palace officials have been waiting for an astrologically
suitable day for the 52-year-old former king to place the
crown on his son's head and formally end his own rule - and
that happened Thursday.
former king had set the process in 2001 for Bhutan's transformation
from an absolute monarch to a parliamentary democracy that
led to the country having a new constitution. The king is
now head of state, but parliament would have the power to
impeach him by a two-thirds vote.