“Long Live Our King” written on a banner and carried by many colourful helium-filled balloons floated high in the clear blue sky. Below were thousands of children, youth and elders looking at the floating balloons, one of the exciting moments, at the celebrations of the 59th Birth Anniversary of His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo Jigme Singye Wangchuck on November 11 at Changlimithang Stadium, Thimphu.
The day also saw a great milestone in history of Bhutan with the launch of the yearlong celebration for the 60th birthday of His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo. The people were filled with joy as they prayed for the good health and long life of the Fourth Druk Gyalpo.
The portraits of His Majesty the King and His Majesty the Fourth King displayed along the streets of Thimphu and on buildings added to the festive look of the day. The musical items and cultural items performed at the Changlimithang Stadium were entertaining, adding more to the bliss of the day.
In his address to the nation, the Prime Minister, Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay, stressed on His Majesty the Fourth King’s achievements during His Majesty’s 34-year reign, as a selfless Monarch.
Lyonchhen also said, as per the His Majesty the Fourth King’s command, the yearlong celebration should be beneficial for the country and the people of Bhutan, and the plans of the 11th FYP are not to be compromised.
Lyonchhen said the His Majesty the Fourth King is an exemplary king in the world who not only abdicated his throne, but started the devolution of power to the people of Bhutan that led to the introduction of a Democratic Constitutional Monarchy.
He shared that the day, November 11, is also to be celebrated as the Gross National Happiness Day as Gross National Happiness (GNH) is coined and developed by His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo.
Lyonchhen added that health and education play crucial roles in the development of the country. The strong policies in these sectors have been framed by His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo.
He said the Bhutanese, from all walks of life, must commit to work hard together and meet the important national goals, which would be the greatest gift for Drukgyal Zhipa on his 60th Birthday celebrations. Lyonchhen said Bhutan must become a self-sufficient nation.
The celebrations at Changlimithang was attended by the Members of Parliament, representatives from the monastic body, government officials, representatives from army, police and royal bodyguard, deesups, civil servant, resident representatives of international organizations, the business community and students.
Coinciding with the day, a website was also launched, Drukgyapzhippat60.bt, by the Ministry of Information and Communications. As per the website, a series of activities are to be carried out as a tribute to His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo.
The day also saw the launch of “Visit Bhutan 2015” to commemorate the 60th birth anniversary of His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo at Tourism Council of Bhutan.
The 59th Birth Anniversary of His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo was also celebrated at Royal Bhutanese Embassy in Bangkok. The day began with the release (tshethar) of 108 birds and Tshedrup prayers for the long life and well being of His Majesty. A seminar on GNH and an abridged documentary “A King in the Service of His People” was also screened.
In Kolkata, India, 300 Bhutanese community patients & their escorts, students and staff of the different agencies gathered to celebrate the birth anniversary of His Majesty the Fourth King in the premise of the Royal Bhutan Consulate. The Consul General spoke to the gathering on the achievements of His Majesty during his 34 years of glorious reign.
The yearlong celebration will see the greening of Thimphu valley, photo exhibition by Nyikem Gongzhu Tshogpa, song dance recital by 108 women, 11th National School Games, offering of Mendrel Ku-Sung-Thug Ten, Sithpa Chidho, Kurim Zhabten & Soelkha, launching of a tribute book, and special audio-visual tribute.
Inauguration of the first major CDM (Clean Development Mechanism) project – Dagachhu Hydro Electric Power Project, and Technical Training Institute at Dekiling Gewog, Sarpang and Dungsam Cement Corporation is also to be observed.
The celebration will also see the embossing the 60th Anniversary Logo stickers on all Drukair aircrafts and headrest in the business class seats. There is to be a publication of pocket sized book on Dzongs of Bhutan, commemorative 3-D stamps and first day cover, Bhutan 2015 Magazine, production of four special thangkas, a book on five National Parks and four wild life sanctuaries in the country, and building of a museum.
Various books will also be launched, such as “A King’s Vision of Development for His Country and Its People: A Tribute to His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo”, “Moment with His Majesty The Fourth Druk Gyalpo”, National Level Quiz Competition and publication of quiz questions, coffee table Book (1955-2015) and an exhibition book “In the Service of the Kings”.
While there will be also road resurfacing works in Thimphu City, reconstruction and improvement of footpaths, covers for primary storm drains, construction of roundabouts, construction of traditional gates, construction of two public toilets at Clock Tower, road pavement markings with thermoplastic paints, hoisting of flags and banners on Expressway and Norzin Lam, provision of portraits along Expressway and city roads, reconstruction of dividers, crash barriers, and road marking with thermoplastic paint and retaining wall along Expressway.
There are also other activities, such as the improvement of traditional boundary wall and lamp posts along the road leading to Tashichhodzong from the Chhubachu roundabout, construction of chain link fencing, Chubachu stream park and amenities and construction of planter along the Changlam.
The celebrations will also involve construction of Bjeda Tazey around the roundabouts, purchase of polypot, construction of 3 water ponds at Zilukha, construction of two water fountains in Coronation Park, Changlimithang, installation of GRC bench at different locations, purchase of planter type II, construction of viewing deck at coronation park, construction of a living museum and construction of traditional gates (Dechencheling and Changlimithang North Entrance).
There will also be illumination, internal re-wiring and footpath lighting of Changangkha Lhakhang, provision of a reliable water supply to Lhunchutse Gonpa residents by upgrading the existing water supply system, repair of existing and installation of additional illumination for Semtokha and 2 Bazams, construction of Bailey bridge deck with Baazam abutment at Pamtsho and architectural facelift of Craft Bazaar.
There will be a presentation of Zhabten to His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo by citizens of Bhutan, a movie and a drama dedicated to the 4th Druk Gyalpo. On the list of activities are 11 items by RAPA, seven items entertainment program by Thimphu Thromde, an item Lhotsham dance, Zhana Ngacham by mass monks, band display by Dra ka Sum, Maja Dance by Tibetan settlements of Thimphu and entertainment performance by the film fraternity.
The 3G services will reach to six additional dzongkhags, providing access to internet connectivity in schools and connectivity to CCs (Community Centers). On the postal services, there will be a launch of stamp booklet, postal museum, GNH Stamp Issue 2014, commemorative stamp, website for the 60th Birth Anniversary Celebrations, Kuensel weekly quiz, BBSC quiz show, essay & art, and indigenous cooking competition.
The year will also see the National Reading Year, Armed Forces Memorial, multi-media museum on Drukgyal Zhipa, construction of a Tabaab Chorten at Babesa (at the entrance of city), re-naming of the Paro International Airport, 60-km bicycle track around Thimphu and construction of a gigantic statute of Chenrizig.