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The Order of the Druk Gyalpo

His Majesty and the fourth Druk Gyalpo with His Holiness Je Thrizur and Her Majesty the Royal GrandmotherHis Majesty and the fourth Druk Gyalpo with His Holiness Je Thrizur and Her Majesty the Royal Grandmother

His Holiness the Je Thrizur Tenzin Dendup Her Majesty the Royal Grand Mother Ashi Kesang Choeden Wangchuck
His Holiness Je Tenzin Dendup, 84, one of the most prominent Drukpa Kayju Buddhist masters, was born at Sha Phadeka in Wangduephodrang in 1925 and started his religious studies at Punakha Dratshang at the age of seven. At 15, he went to continue his studies at the Tharpaling Monastery in Bumthang for four years.

In 1943, he embarked on his spiritual quest and went to Tibet where he spent seven years practicing the highest order erudition of the Drukpa Kayju Lineage under the guidance of several accomplished masters which included His Eminence Choegen Rinpoche Thuktop Chogey Jamtso, His Eminence Zheychen Rabjam Kugongma Kuenzang Tempey Nima, His Eminence Minling Chung Rinpoche, Polokhen Rinpoche Thubten Kuenga Gyeltshe, Khentse Chogyel Lotey, Chabjey Duenjom Rinpoche, and Jurmey Dechencholing Rinpoche.

On returning to Bhutan, he went to meditation retreats at sacred sites including Sha Yuelagang, Kubo Drag at Gantoe, and Boed Langda.

Upon completing the advanced practices of the Vajrayana Buddhist traditions, he joined the Sha Dechencholing Dubdey and received the wholesome ordination of the Drukpa Kayju Dam-Nga (the highest ecclesiastic ordination of the Drukpa Kayju Lineage) from Lam Tenzin Jamtsho.

In 1967, he became the first lopen of the newly instituted Dubdey at Tango.

Having held various important posts within the Zhung Dratshang, he became the Dorji Lopen in 1985.

A year later, His Holiness became the 68th Je Khenpo ushering in a time when, under the command of His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo, he brought about major reforms in the Zhung Dratshang strengthening and consolidating the institution and started the first Buddhist Shedra (higher learning colleges) at Tango and Cheri in Thimphu.

In 1990, His Holiness relinquished the title of the Je Khenpo, bringing an end to an illustrious career that spanned over five decades.

His Holiness continues to be the patron of the Tango and Cheri Buddhist Shedra, and wields immense influence among the larger world Buddhist community.

Her Majesty Ashi Kesang Choeden Wangchuck has been instrumental in the protection and restoration of many important national treasures, the construction of religious monuments and supported many religious institutions throughout the kingdom.

She established close friendship with world leaders and helped promote Bhutan’s ties with many countries. Her Majesty played a central role during the historic visit of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Shrimati Indira Gandhi in 1958.

Her Majesty was born on May 21, 1930 in Kalimpong to Raja Sonam Tobgye Dorji, Gonzim to the first, second and third kings of Bhutan and Mayum Choying Wongmo Dorji, the princess of Sikkim.

She pursued her early education at St. Joseph’s Convent in Kalimpong and later studied at House of Citizenship in England.

She became the Queen to His Majesty the Third Druk Gyalpo Jigme Dorji Wangchuck on October 5, 1951 at Paro.

On November 11, 1955, His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo Jigme Singye Wangchuck was born.

She also bore four daughters: Ashi Sonam Choden Wangchuck in 1953, Ashi Dechan Wangmo Wangchuck in 1954, Ashi Pema Lhaden Wangchuck in 1959 and Ashi Kesang Wangmo Wangchuck in 1961.

A follower of the Buddha Dharma and a devoted disciple of His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, Her Majesty is also a benefactor of the living Buddhist arts and architecture of Bhutan.

On the advice of His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, Her Majesty, together with her mother, Mayum Choying Wongmo Dorji, constructed the temple of Guru Nangsid Zilnon, Guru Horsog Magdog and Kurukule at the Kyichu Lhakhang in Paro in 1966.

Her Majesty started the construction of the Ka-Gong-Phur-Sum Lhakhang in Kurje which was completed in 1990. It was dedicated to the past kings of Bhutan and to Her Majesty’s parents, with prayers for the long life and successful reign of His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo Jigme Singye Wangchuck, and for the eternal well-being and happiness of the people of Bhutan.

Her Majesty has also been a patron of annual prayers conducted for the well-being and security of the King, country and the people.

Her Majesty provides subsistence allowance to about 200 monks and tshampas (lay monks) in various monasteries in Bumthang, Dokar Phurdrub Goenpa and Euto Goenpa in Paro, Nyala Goenpa in Trongsa and Jangsa Goenpa in Kalimpong, India.

Her Majesty has a keen interest in preserving the unique art, architecture and cultural heritage of Bhutan and in promoting research and scholarship on the kingdom.