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  1. #1
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    Bhutanese hail new monarch

    Bhutanese hail new monarch


    THE world's newest democracy now has a new monarch after the prince of Bhutan was crowned its dragon king in a grand ceremony in the capital Thimphu yesterday.

    Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck will be Bhutan's fifth Druk Gyalpo or dragon king the name given to monarchs from the Himalayan kingdom's 100-year-old Wangchuck dynasty.

    Buddhist monks began the sacred coronation ceremony at Thimphu's white-walled Dzong, or fort, before dawn with incense offerings to the deities.

    Soon after sunrise the king's family and other dignitaries arrived as monks played drums, cymbals and traditional wind instruments from the roof of the Dzong to ward off evil spirits.

    The new king and his father arrived with a colourful procession of warriors and courtiers in traditional dress. Barefooted performers called Bji-bi-powars, once believed to have supernatural powers, did the "Dance of the Heroes" in front of the royals in a Dzong courtyard. Then, facing a huge silk tapestry portraying an ancient Buddhist guru, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck drank ceremonial wine offered by senior monks and entered the ornate Chamber of the Golden Throne.

    At exactly 8.31am a time deemed auspicious by royal astrologers outgoing king Jigme Singye Wangchuck placed Bhutan's raven crown on the head of the new monarch, who then took his place on Bhutan's Supreme Golden Throne.

    Bhutan's four "queen mothers" the wives of the old king were among a small group inside the throne room as eight auspicious articles were offered to the new king: a mirror, medicine, curd or yoghurt, incense, fruit, a conch shell, vermilion and yellow mustard.

    The President of India, Pratibha Patil, attended the coronation along with India's Congress Party leader, Sonia Gandhi.

    The 52-year-old outgoing king engineered Bhutan's first democratic elections in March and presided over the drafting of a new constitution. He is known for adopting "gross national happiness" as the main development philosophy for the small nation wedged between India and China.


  2. #2
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    In one of Asia's only remaing monarchies, the people of Bhutan are celebrating the coronation of their new king today, a 28-year-old with an Oxford education. The popular king is expected to continue his father's policies of modernizing Bhutan and guiding the county smoothly down the road of democracy.


    STORY:
    [Yeshey Dorji, Bhutanese Foreign Secretary]:
    "Today is the formal ceremony of the coronation of his majesty the king of Bhutan."

    Namgyel Wangchuck assumed the Raven Crown of Bhutan. He is now entrusted with guiding the world's newest democracy as it emerges into the modern world.

    Wangchuck spent much of his life in the United States, Britain and India. He will receive the crown from his 52-year-old father, who modernized Bhutan during his reign, imposed democracy and then stepped down from the throne in 2006.

    India's president and foreign minister were among the 30 diplomats from around the world who were present at the coronation.

    The citizens of Bhutan have had to wait two years for this day, after astrologers deemed 2007 a "black year," unsuitable for any major events. Most say it has been worth the wait.

    Five decades ago, Bhutan was a feudal, mediaeval place with no roads, proper schools or hospitals and scarcely any contact with the outside world. Today, education and healthcare are free and life expectancy has risen to 66 years from less than 40.

    For most Bhutanese, credit goes to the outgoing monarch, the Fourth King, who saw that his tiny country had to be stronger to survive in a dangerous neighborhood.

    He was also the architect of Bhutan's widely admired national philosophy, Gross National Happiness, the idea that spiritual and mental well-being matter as much as money and that material gain should not come at the expense of the environment or culture.


  3. #3
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    Modernizing...?? Hmm. Don't know if this is a benefit or a detriment. Nonetheless, if any of you jokers have yet to spend some time in Bhutan, make it your next holiday. Fascinating place. If, for anything, they've only been "open" to the world for some 20 years. Most interesting is the extreme climate {depending on the time of year} and geography. Can go from Himalayan outliers to sub-tropical heat. Best wishes to the new Monarch.
    Last edited by Rural Surin; 08-11-2008 at 10:55 PM.

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