Celebration fever grips East
Eastern dzongkhags get ready to celebrate Coronation
6 November, 2008 - As His Majesty the King received the sacred Dhar in the Machen Lhakhang on Saturday, Dungkar Nagtshang of Kurtoe, Lhuentse, glittered in the morning sun with a new sertog (golden pinnacle) installed.
Civil servants, students and villagers gathered at the ancestral home of Jigme Namgyal, the father of the first Druk Gyalpo, to offer prayers and butter lamps. “It was a very significant moment to offer our prayers at the Nagtshang,” said the Lhuentse dzongrab, Rinchen.
Around the same time, thousands of civil servants, the business community, students and trainees, and people of the six eastern dzongkhags offered prayers and karmi tongchoe (thousand butter lamps) in dzongs and temples for the long life and good health of His Majesty the King.
Thousands of others spent the day glued to the TV watching BBS’s live coverage of the sacred ceremony.
In Mongar, a two-week kurim was underway. The dzong was lit up with a thousand butter lamps and monks chanted prayers for hours. “It was a rare opportunity to witness such a wonderful occasion. I’m fortunate to witness two coronation celebrations,” said the Mongar dzongrab, Tashi Dargay.
Meanwhile, people of the eastern dzongkhags are gearing up to celebrate the Coronation on November 6.
“We want to make this celebration very unique and interesting that students will remember it for the rest of their lives,” said Kinzang Dendup, the Khaling HSS principal. They will inaugurate the palatial tower exhibiting the portraits of the five kings during the celebrations, he said.
Variety shows, cultural programmes, awarding merit certificates to excellent students, sport tournaments and singing competitions and many others are on the long list of actvities slated for the celebrations.
Lhuentse will host the cluster-based school sports and culture meet during the celebrations, while in Samdrupjongkhar cultural programmes are planned at the public ground. Pemagatshel will host a competition of cultural items between schools of the gewogs within the dzongkhag with a Nu 80,000 sponsorship from Druk SATAIR.
The Rigney institute and dzongkhag will play archery in Trashiyangtse, the occasion will be celebrated in the higher secondary school at Mongar with a cultural program and a grand lunch for the gathering. The Swiss-Bhutan friendship association has planned a cultural programme on November 7 in Mongar. A joint celebration will be held in Rangjung HSS, Trashigang with karmi tongchoe and cultural programs to pay tribute to the King.
The dzongkhags will also be offering dhars sent by His Majesty in the dzongs and nyekhangs and offer prayers.
However, despite the variety of programmes and entertainment in the dzongkhags, thousands of people are leaving for Thimphu, where the centre of the celebrations will be.
Buses from all the districts have been booked since mid October until November 6. Tenzin Gembo, the booking in-charge in Trashigang said that there was too much pressure for tickets to Thimphu. “People keep calling me even at night. Most of them are villagers, who’ve been waiting for days to go to Thimphu,” he said.
“Usually the buses are half filled but these days it’s all packed,” said the Mongar booking in-charge. Left with no alternative, many have been hiring taxis. “The rush is so much that people hire taxis all the way to Thimphu,” he said.
But those staying behind said they would not miss the live broadcast on BBS. Villagers have been visiting the gup’s office enquiring the time of the Coronation. “We’ve been looking forward to this occasion, so we’ll watch TV all day,” said Sangay Dorji from Sakteng in a phone interview. Some are even thinking on recording the live telecast. “I’ll keep them to show my kids,” said Tashi Dorji, a teacher.
In Mongar and Trashigang, civil servants were asked not to move out of their dzongkhags during the celebrations. Dzongkhag officials said that, if movement was allowed, it would create a vacuum in the dzongkhags especially for security reasons.
By Tshering Palden