It is a warm sunny day in Paro. A group of men, women, and children including elders are waiting for a special guest to their village in Lango.
It is an important moment for them in Chukha village. They never had such a high profile person walk the dusty trails to their village nestled in the plains along the right bank of Pachhu.
Below the road lies a huge expanse of paddy fields that draw irrigation from the canals constructed by Dasho Nishioka in 1987. Paddy was transplanted mechanically with machines and techniques that the late Dasho introduced more than 50 years ago.
A former Bondey Farm official, Wangdi who now works in the Paro dzongkhag agriculture sector explains how agriculture benefited from the hard work and commitment of the late Dasho.
“Dasho was a kind but strict man,” he said.
When the long motorcade finally arrived, the villagers grew jittery. Her Imperial Highness Mako of Akishino of Japan emerged from a car and walked towards the gathering. They bow and the princess responds in similar gesture.
Wangdi explains to the Princess about the paddy fields as they walk towards the farmstay, a huge traditional two-storey house, nearby.
A farmer, Karma Choden has waited for more than three hours to see the Princess. She said it felt nice that the Princess showed interest in Bhutanese tradition and culture.
“Most people choose to built concrete buildings in place of the traditional ones,” she says.
Her neighbour Rinzin Dem is awestruck with the Princess. “She was beautiful and looked a like a Bhutanese,” she said.
The farm-stay owner Khando Wangmo and family members received the Princess in front of their house. “It was a privilege to receive a princess from such a developed country,” she said.
The Princess took keen interest in old household items and asked about many of the contents in the altar room and in the house. The Princess was impressed with preservation of the old things and advised to keep it that way, she said.
The family’s ancestral asset of religious scriptures, and other items were also displayed for viewing.
The Princess visited the Nishioka Museum at the Farm Machinery Corporation in Bondey in the morning and the National Museum in Paro Tadzong and Paro Dzong where she lit butter lamps.
Princess Mako, who is on a seven-day state visit, also watched the final of the Jigme Dorji Wangchuck Memorial National Championship on traditional bow and played archery and khuru at the Changlimithang on June 3.
The 25-year-old Princess wore a kira, Bhutanese costume for women, which her parents, Prince Fumihito and Princess Kiko, received from His Majesty The Fourth Druk Gyalpo 20 years ago when they visited Bhutan.
His Majesty The King and His Majesty The Fourth Druk Gyalpo granted an audience to the Princess during her visit. His Majesty The King also hosted a private luncheon at the Lingkana Palace.
The Princess was the special guest at the inaugural of the third Royal Bhutan Flower Exhibition on June 4. The Princess will visit Taktshang monastery today and leave for Japan tomorrow.
Tshering Palden | Paro