Thursday, November 6, 2008

Bhutan's Coronation

Photograph © Tewfic El-Sawy-All Rights Reserved

The Himalayan nation of Bhutan crowned its fifth king Thursday after a two-year wait for the precise moment deemed most auspicious by court astrologers. At precisely 8:31 a.m. local time King Jigme Singye Wangchuck, 52, placed the Raven Crown on the head of his son, 28-year old Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck, giving him the title of Druk Gyalpo, or Dragon King.

The ceremony was held in Thimpu's Tashichho Dzong, a 17th century white-walled fortress that serves both as administrative headquarters and a monastic center. Bhutanese came from all over the country for the ceremony, including nomadic yak herders who trekked for days from the icy Himalayan mountains of northern Bhutan, as well as members of the country's Hindu minority.

While traveling in Bhutan earlier last month on my Land of the Druk Yul photo-expedition, we saw frenetic activities for this coronation. Unfortunately, I don't know its Dzongkha equivalent, but I extend my congratulations to Bhutan.

The above image is of a Black Hat dancer practicing on a ceremonial trumpet at the Tamshing tsechu last month.

Update: For photographs of the coronation, including some by Paula Bronstein of Getty Images, visit The Boston Globe's The Big Picture.

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