His Majesty The King granted Dassain tikka and blessings to representatives of the Hindu community at the Lingkana Palace yesterday. The representatives were led by Lyonpo DN Dhungyel and Lyonpo Dawa Gyaltshen.

Dassain, (which is also known as Dusshera) is the most important of Hindu festivals, celebrated by billions of Hindus across the world. Dassain occurs on the tenth day of the festival, following prayer ceremonies dedicated to goddess Durga.

The Durga Puja was held at the Lingkana palace, conducted by priests from the Hindu Dharma Samudaya.

His Majesty The King offered prayers along with Her Majesty The Gyaltsuen and His Royal Highness The Gyalsey at the puja ceremony.

Pandit Narayan Sigtel, who led the prayer ceremony, said that the puja was conducted for the peace and wellbeing of the country and people.

The tikka used in the ceremony today was sanctified from the puja. After being blessed by His Majesty The King, part of the tikka was distributed through the Hindu mandir, and used in tikka ceremonies across the homes of Hindu families.

According to Hindu scriptures, Ram, who is exemplified as a divine King and a reincarnation of Vishnu, is said to have offered prayers to goddess Durga, before defeating the demon Ravana on the tenth day. Dassain celebrates this victory of good over evil.

“To receive tikka from parents and elders on Dassain is considered a mark of great fortune, as it signifies the conferring of invaluable blessing and protection,” Narayan Sigtel said. “His Majesty The King is believed to embody Vishnu, the protector deity, and for the people of Bhutan, His Majesty is also a father figure. The tradition of receiving tikka from His Majesty The King is therefore, supremely auspicious– symbolic of His Majesty The King’s continued blessing and protection over the people.”

His Majesty The King granted a traditional Dassain lunch to the representatives after the tikka ceremony.

The occasion also marked His Royal Highness The Gyalsey’s first celebration of Dassain.