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Updated: October 14, 2011 12:26 IST

Married to the right person: Bhutan’s king

Prashant Jha
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King Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck and Queen Jetsun Pema during their wedding ceremony at the Punakha Dzong, in Bhutan on Thursday.
AP King Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck and Queen Jetsun Pema during their wedding ceremony at the Punakha Dzong, in Bhutan on Thursday.

Bhutan's fifth monarch, 31-year-old King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuk married 21-year-old commoner Jetsun Pema at a traditional Buddhist ceremony on Thursday morning.

The wedding took place at a majestic monastery-fortress, the Palace of Great Happiness in Phunaka, the country's old capital, which is about two hours away from Thimphu. The couple were dressed in traditional Bhutanese attire.

The day began early, with prayers initiated by Bhutan's chief abbot at 4 a.m. The royal family and the bride arrived in separate processions at around 8.30 a.m.

Ceremony

The King, his father, and the Chief Abbot first went inside a sacred shrine to seek blessings by lighting a lamp. The Raven Crown of the King signifying ‘the eternal reign of the Wangchuk dynasty'; the Golden Bumpa ‘filled with the ambrosia of eternal life, signifying the devotion of the Queen to the glorious continuity of the Wangchuk dynasty'; and the Queen's crown rest on the altar of this shrine.

The royal family and the bride then moved to the Grand Kuenra, a larger hall where other guests were seated. King Jigme Wangchuk ascended the Golden Throne, and wore the Raven Crown. The bride prostrated thrice in front of the king, and then offered him the Golden Bumpa to signify her devotion. The king had a sip of the ambrosia and bestowed the crown of the Druk Gyal-Tsuen on the bride, formalising her status as the new Queen of the Kingdom of Bhutan. Behind the couple was a large-sized golden Buddha statue.

The Chief Abbot, the king's father, the royal grandmother, Queen mothers, members of the royal family, relatives of the bride, religious leaders, the Prime Minister, members of the Cabinet, and other national dignitaries made offerings to the royal couple. Through the ceremony, monks chanted prayers for the ‘accumulation of spiritual and worldly virtues' and other blessings.

Celebrations

After the conclusion of the wedding rituals, the world's newest royal couple, walked out to an open ground which was the venue for public celebrations. They first went to greet ordinary citizens who had arrived at the venue from different corners of the country. People bowed and expressed their joy and best wishes.

The monarch respectfully thanked them, touched their offering of khadar, a white cloth, as a mark of appreciation, and hugged young children even as traditional dances continued at the centre of the ground.

Besides mingling with citizens, the King went personally to greet his guests seated in a separate tent on the ground to witness the public celebrations. He could be seen having an extended conversation with Jyotiraditya Scindia. Other guests from India included ambassador Pavan Varma, former foreign secretary Shyam Saran, former ambassador Dileep Mehta, the late Arjun Singh's grandson Aishwarya Singh and his wife Devyani Rana, and journalists Karan Thapar and Malvika Singh. More than 20 non-resident ambassadors to Bhutan and their spouses were also present on the occasion.

‘Right person’

Speaking briefly to the media, King Jigme Wangchuk said he was really happy. “I have been waiting for quite some time to get married. It doesn't matter when you get married as long as it is to the right person. I am certain I am married to the right person.”

The public celebrations will continue for the next three days, during the Royal Couple's return journey to Thimphu on Friday as well as at official events organised in the capital to give citizens a chance to catch a glimpse of the King and their new Queen, Jetsun Pema Wangchuk.

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We wish the King and his pretty wife a long and happy married life!

from:  Navi Reyd
Posted on: Oct 15, 2011 at 00:40 IST

A true king of hearts... I wonder if how many politicians in India would do the same...

from:  Ashwini Kumar
Posted on: Oct 14, 2011 at 22:58 IST

The tiny himalayan kingdom unique among the monarchy among the world, when every other dictators, kings are unwilling to give up their titles, this king convinced his subjects to accept the democracy even though they are unwilling.
The simple marriage reinforces the belief of Bhutanese its Gross National Happiness that matters not Gross National Product.Best wishes from people of India to newly married royal couple...

from:  Devendra L Abbigeri
Posted on: Oct 14, 2011 at 19:00 IST


a simple and genuine man but a king honest and
honourable gentleman who married his childhood
sweetheart despite her social status--a commoner
-- an event of significance-will go down in
Bhutan*s history

from:  simon duraisamy
Posted on: Oct 14, 2011 at 16:40 IST

correction please- its not "khadar", it is khada- the silken scarf. The correspondent should have know- he does cover Nepal doesn't he???

from:  sangs
Posted on: Oct 14, 2011 at 15:18 IST

The story they put on our national news about the Bhutan royal wedding and the information they told of the country was so very nice. Makes one want to move there. Sounds lovely. And the new queen looks radiant and beautiful. I wish them lifelong happiness. I was impressed with not wanting a British style fancy wedding. I like that the country values happiness so very highly. Just wonderful to hear of such in our news here.

from:  Larry Fulmer Jr.
Posted on: Oct 14, 2011 at 07:54 IST

The king sounds like a wonderful person, especially because of his willingness to mingle with all. I wish him great happiness.

from:  Jim McClarin
Posted on: Oct 14, 2011 at 05:35 IST
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