The Sharcho-Khorlo Tsipgyed people, from all walks of life, were exhilarated at the opportunity to meet His Majesty the King and His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo during the grand celebrations of the 107th National Day at Kanglung, Trashigang, on December 17.
The festive look of the celebrations started all the way of the Thimphu-Trashigang Highway, where colourful portraits of His Majesty the King and His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo graced the scene, to the celebration ground that was adorned with the portraits of the Kings, the Eight Lucky Signs, banners and balloons.
More than twenty thousand people gathered at the college ground in Kanglung for the celebrations. Many gathered early in the morning at 1 am, to find the best spots to watch the day’s celebrations, and more importantly to catch a glimpse of Their Majesties and the Royal Family.
Although the morning was cloudy and cold, however, the skies cleared way for abundant sunshine and warmth as His Majesty the King and His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo arrived at the celebration ground.
The event of the day started with the offering of Khu-Sung-Thugten Mendral to His Majesty the King and His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo.
The people at the celebrations were inspired by the National Day Address of His Majesty the King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck. “I have come here to meet Their Majesties and to listen to His Majesty the King’s Address personally. I felt His Majesty’s Speech was like an englighted talk,” a cheerful farmer from Radhi, Tashigang, Sonam Tobgye, 73, said. He added that each and every people present at the moment were fortunate to meet Their Majesties and the Royal Family.
“The hereditary Kings have always been sympathetic and kind hearted, one could not find elsewhere in the world,” said a farmer from Radhi, Pema Lhendup, 69, sharing his feelings on the day.
“We thank our Kings more than our parents,” Pema Lhendup added. Further, he said he was moved to tears when His Majesty said the land belongs to the people and Land Kidu is given to the poor and landless people. He then prayed for His Majesty’s health and long life and a safe return to Thimphu.
“According to the our great grand parents, they used to say that if one meets His Majesty, once in a year, then it is equivalent to performing rimdro (prayers and wellbeing rituals) to get rid of bad omen for a year,” an ex-army man, Tshewang Tobjur, 70, from Yonphula said. He had come on foot from his village to be a part of the celebrations, and especially to see Their Majesties and the Royal Family. “I am extremely happy to meet Their Majesties and witness the event,” he added.
Sharing on the developmental actvities and development in and around the locality, Tshewang Tobjur recollected that in early 80s, there were only one or two houses roofed with CGI sheets and no roads could be found apart from the highways. But now, almost all houses are roofed with CGI sheets and every gewog is connected with roads, with some roads leading right to the doorsteps. “Because of such development, in very short time, I want to live longer,” he added with joy.
Gyelked, 55, from Jamkhar, Trashiyangtse, a shopkeeper said, “We rarely visit Thimphu, the conduct of the celebration here has fulfilled my aspiration to meet and talk with His Majesties.”
He added that in earlier days, with no road conectivity, they have to trade food items and salt from Tashigang on foot, taking 12 hours to back and forth. “Now, it is very easy for us as we don’t have to endure much hardship,” he said.
A class seven student from Yonphula, Tashi Tobgay, 13, who had gathered for the celebrations at 4:30 am, said he has had the good fortune to meet His Majesty the King, but he had never seen His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo except in photographs and on television.
He recollected some of the achievemnets of the Fourth Druk Gyalpo, like driving out the militants and initiation of air service. “I am happy that I could meet Their Majesties,” he added.
Amazed and surprised at witnessing such a grand event for the first time, Rinchen Lethro,38, from Sakteng could not contain his joy and happiness at being part of the celebrations. He said the cultural programs performed by the the dzongkhag, rabdeys, gewogs, Sherubtse College, schools, were very interesting and pleasing.
The Druk Gi Ngagoe Dendur (national strongman competition) of the six strong men from six eastern dzongkhags added much to the festive mood of the day. Tenzin Dorji from Mongar was declared as the winner of the competition.
The band display by the Royal Bhutan Army and synchronized drill by Royal Bhutan Police were a hit with the crowd. A song titled, “ Kadrinchey Miwang Gyalpo” and a song tribute to His Majesty the King were also pleasing to the people.
The thrill of the lucky draw caught on to everyone, all guarding their tickets and hoping to be lucky enough to win a prize. On the prize list were power tillers, bikes, swiss brown milking cows, a DCM truck, etc. The crowd was also entertained by comedy skits performed by two popular Bhutanese comedians.
Her Majesty the Gyaltsuen, Their Majesties the Queen Mothers, Their Royal Highnesses the Princes and Princesses, the Prime Minister, Ministers, Members of Parliament, senior government officials were also present at the 107th National Day celebrations in Kanglung, Trashigang.