The display is on for two weeks at the Nehru-Wangchuck cultural centre in Thimphu 

Ties: A black and white photograph of His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo accompanying the visiting fourth president of India, the late VV Giri, at Changlimithang in 1974, is the earliest photograph in an exhibition arranged to display visits and interaction between the Fourth Druk Gyalpo and Indian leadership.

His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo’s visits and interactions with former Indian prime ministers, like Indira Gandhi, Morarji Desai, Rajiv Gandhi, Atal Behari Vajpayee, and other senior members of the Indian government, among others, are displayed.  The most recent photographs displayed are from the recent visit of the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The exhibition titled ‘His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo and India’s leadership’ was inaugurated by Her Royal Highness Princess Dechen Yangzom Wangchuck and Her Royal Highness Princess Kesang Choden Wangchuck, yesterday at the Nehru-Wangchuck cultural centre in Thimphu.

Indian ambassador Gautam Bambawale, during the opening, said that some of the photographs were on public display for the first time and therefore a voyage of discovery for all of us. “The monarchs of Bhutan were the architects of this very special relationship and partnership between India and Bhutan, and this exhibition will explain to you why exactly His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo has been very critical in this important partnership,” said the ambassador.

The ambassador said that  very soon there will be an exhibitions on His Majesty the King and his interactions with India’s leadership. “But this is a very special year here in Bhutan, it is the 60th anniversary of the birthday of His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo, and on this occasion, we thought we should do something special, and this is one of the offerings we’d like to offer to the people of Bhutan, and the people of India.”

The exhibition would be on display in Thimphu for two weeks, following which it will be displayed in other dzongkhags.

Ministers, senior government officials, and members of the international community, attended the photo exhibition’s opening.

Referring to the 1974 photograph of His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo and the late VV Giri, lyonpo DN Dhungyel, who was a guest at the event, said that it showed the long history of the strong relations between Bhutan and India.  “Personally, we don’t have a claim on this relationship, no political party or no individual common man can have a claim on the relations between the government of Bhutan and government of India,” said lyonpo Dhungyel.

Another guest at the event, Dasho Kunzang Wangdi, said that, when His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo visited New Delhi in India in 1974, he was still in college. “We had the privilege of being summoned to attend a luncheon at the Bhutan embassy, and it was a great feeling,” he said. “We also had the honour of witnessing the reception and guard of honour being hosted by the President of India at Palam airport,” said Dasho Kunzang, in response to what memories the photo exhibition elicited.

The cultural centre’s director, Malkit Chand, said that the photographs were obtained from the archives of the Indian ministry of external affairs.

The exhibition will be displayed at the colleges of the Royal University of Bhutan.

By Gyalsten K Dorji



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