A host of activities have been planned for the three days of celebrations and festivities

Celebration: The entire country will observe three days of celebrations and festivities beginning November 9 and culminating on the 11th for the 60th Birth Anniversary Celebrations of His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo, it was announced at a press conference on Thursday.

The conceptual guidelines for the three days of celebrations was presented by special coordinator Dasho Sonam Tenzin.

While celebrations and festivities will be occurring, Dasho Sonam Tenzin pointed out that His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo has made it clear to the organizers that the emphasis should be on “nation building” as commanded by His Majesty The King, rather than a birthday party, Dasho Sonam Tenzin said.

In line with this over arching theme, the focus of the celebrations will be on reflecting the achievements of the Fourth Druk Gyalpo, taking stock of the current status of initiatives and achievements, and to plan for the future based on the vision, wisdom, and direction of His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo.

“Everything we have is because of what He has done,” Dasho Sonam Tenzin said.

His Majesty The King will be addressing the nation on November 11.

While prayers are already being conducted for the occasion, the Zhung Dratshang on November 7, will hold a Goempoi Tongtshog Kurim by 100 monks at Tashichhodzong and a public Nyen-ney Yenlag Gye-Pai Dompa by the Dorji Lopen at Tendrel Thang. On November 8, three thongdrols will be unfurled at Tashichhodzong and other rites conducted.

The activities, which will commence on the 9th, are divided into three categories: paying tribute and gratitude, the offering of collective prayers, and celebrating the occasion of His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo’s 60th Birth Anniversary.

Some of the highlights during the three day celebrations include His Majesty The King presenting one statue of Chenrizig to each of the 205 gewogs enabling the people to pay homage to His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo. Each statue is to be placed in a temple that is mutually agreed upon by the people of the gewog. However, if there is disagreement, throw of dice will determine which temple is chosen.

The Queen’s Project Office in collaboration with the 60th Birth Anniversary Celebration Coordination Unit will launch 60 different products from various dzongkhags under the One Gewog, One Product programme. The products shall be displayed in tents and sold to the public.

While deferred to after the celebrations, a Druk Gi Norbui Kachen to pay tribute to His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo’s extraordinary qualities of Ku-Sung-Thug-Yonten-Thinley will be built. The monument will be made out of solid stone and be 30 feet high. “The presentation of the monument will be simple but striking with profound significance as the Asoka pillar,” it was pointed out.

The monument will eventually be replicated in all dzongkhags.

The celebrations have been organized into four themes.

The first theme is the offering of kurims and longevity prayers for His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo. Nationwide kurims in all dzongs, monasteries, temples, gomdeys, and shedras will be held. A collective recitation of Kanjur by various shedras will also take place. Soelkha will occur in all goenkhangs nationwide and Baza Guru, mani, tshedo, and tshedrub, will be recited jointly by the dratshang, rabdeys, chhodeys, drubdeys, and the public.

The second theme is to create a special event and environment for people to express their gratitude, love, devotion, and loyalty to the His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo.

An elaborate chipdrel seldrang will be staged for the final day of celebrations. A guard of honour by 1,000 army personnel, will be presented three times to His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo. The Zhung Dratshang, rabdey, chhodey, civil service, dakhagsum, and public, will offer a Mendrel Ku-Sum-Thugten or Mandala.

A zhabten for His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo, described by Dasho Sonam Tenzin as perhaps the highlight of the programme, will also be offered collectively by the 1,000 representatives of the Dratshang and Chhodey, and representatives from various other sections of society.

Dzongs, boulevards, institutional buildings, and streets will be decorated with flowers, trees, the respectable display of pictures of the monarchs, and illuminations.

The third theme is to stage for the highest quality entertainment programmes that legitimises the event philosophically, ritually, and ceremonially. All schools will be provided with the opportunity of coming up with exceptional programmes and the best ones screened in their respective dzongkhags.

The Dratshang shall display the Zhing-Sheg Pem Chham by 100 monks at Changlimithang.

Senior citizens, above the age of 70, both male and female, will perform a traditional dance for His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo.

Thousands of colourful bio-degradable balloons will be released.

The fourth theme includes parallel entertainment programmes to be organized at different places at different timings in Thimphu city by private entertainment associations.

Shows will be organized at the Centenary park, Dechenchholing, Changjiji, Clock Tower square, Mothithang park, and on Norzin lam.

A treasure hunt is planned for November 9 to be held at Mothithang, Dechencholing, and Nazhoen Pelri.

On November 10, a marathon for the elderly, above age 60, will begin and end at the Clock Tower square, besides various other entertainment programmes.

On November 11, a cake cutting ceremony will be held in three locations.

Separate avenues may be created to stage all traditional sports of Bhutan.

All 205 gewogs will observe and celebrate the occasion.

Gyalsten K Dorji