Tshering Namgyal | Gyalpoizhing

Her Majesty Gyalyum Tshering Yangdoen Wangchuck inaugurated the 7th Royal Bhutan Flower Exhibition, which is being held in Mongar and Gyalpoizhing.

The exhibition this year is dedicated to His Majesty the Third Druk Gyalpo Jigme Dorji Wangchuck in commemoration of His Majesty’s birth anniversary.

Her Majesty the Gyalyum, the Royal Patron of the Royal Bhutan Flower Exhibition, was accompanied by His Royal Highness Gyaltshab Jigme Dorji Wangchuck and Ashi Yeatso Lhamo.

The exhibition showcased various aspects of local indigenous crafts, agricultural produces, and a large variety of flowers from eastern Bhutan.

A popular item on display is Kamthagma, a thick cloth woven with cotton and an indigenous craft of Thongsa village in Chongshing chiwog in Pemagatshel. Today, 49 farmers grow cotton trees on about 20 acres of land to keep the culture alive.

Chongshing Mangmi, Karma Choden, who represents the women’s weaving group said these clothes are unique and mostly preferred by tourists.

Similarly, there are not many who can weave what was once valuable cloth called pangkheb sari from Yurung gewog. It was mostly used to cover seats of important guests, wrap newborn babies, and carry dead bodies.

Karma Choden said today there are only a few elderly women who can weave this.

Among other products on display are famous Tshatshe buram, a sugarcane candy of Tshatshe village in Pemagatshel and sugarcane juice known for flu and altitude sickness remedies among others, and Radhi buray and rice from Radi, Trashigang.

Urka Bangala pickle and dappa(wooden bowl) from Trashiyangtse, bamboo and cane products from Mongar, and Kishuthara from Khoma and earthen pots from Gangzur in Lhuentse are also on display.

Bhutan Agro Industries limited in Lingmethang and Koufuku International Limited in Chenari, Trashigang, Menjong Sorig Pharmaceuticals Corporation limited, National Post-harvest Centre have also showcased varieties of their products in the individual stalls.

Agriculture research and development centre (ARDC), Wengkhar, which provided assistance to the overall coordination of the exhibition also displayed smart irrigation and integration of artificial intelligence (use of Google assistant) in farming, hydroponics in floriculture and potted plants.

The main feature of the RBFE includes 12 hand-carved sculptures of 12 birth animals, an artificial lake, a water wheel installation, a model of Tanaduphodrang-the palace of medicine Buddha, and a Canopy garden by the Armed Forces, among others.

The assistant coordinator and Program Director of ARDC Wengkhar, Lhab Dorji, said the preparation for RBFE began in November and took four months.

He said the ARDC set up nurseries along with six other nurseries to produce 200,000 plants for the garden and lawns that stretch over 18 acres in Mongar and Gyalpoizhing. The 7th RBFE also took up beautification of Mongar town mini-park.

Other agencies involved were National Biodiversity Centre, Dechencholing Royal Project, armed forces, and the dzongkhag beautification sector.

The Royal Bhutan Flower Exhibition was initiated upon the Royal Command of His Majesty The King in 2015 and is carried out by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests with the help of the host dzongkhag and other partner agencies.

In line with Royal Vision for the exhibition, the successive editions held in Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, Samdrup Jongkhar and Haa have extended beyond the main venue to develop permanent installations, public parks and spaces in our towns for the benefit and enjoyment of residents.

This year, the Gyalpozhing College of Information Technology is partnering with the Royal Bhutan Flower Exhibition to allow viewers from across the world to experience the event. The virtual experience will launch on 21st May, on the website flora.bt.