The relics will be displayed for two more days

Religion: The government has extended the display of relics at Punakha Dzong until April 24 given that thousands of devotees continue to pour into the dzongkhag to receive blessings.

The relics were displayed following the Zhabdrung Kuchoe Tendral on April 16 to mark the 400th year of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel’s arrival in Bhutan and also to celebrate his 35 years of reign in Bhutan.

The display was supposed to end yesterday but as people continue to come for blessing from all parts of the country, the dzongkhag, following a special Command from the Office of His Majesty The King extended the display for two more days, said Punakha Dzongrab Ugyen Tshering.

The two extended days, which also coincides with the weekend, will provide an opportunity for office goers to obtain blessings from the relics.

According to officials, on average between 10,000 to 15,000 people have been visiting the dzong daily to receive blessings.

Dzongrab Ugyen Tshering said the visiting time starts at 6:30am in the morning and ends at around 7pm, but in most cases it is extended till 7:30pm.

Despite the large turnout at the dzong for the last five-days, administration work has not been hampered as only a few staff were involved in the relics display, the dzongrab said. The relics display is being coordinated by the Zhung Dratshang.

However, for the Zhabdrung Kuchoe Tendral preparations, almost all the dzongkhag administration staff and officials were involved.

Meanwhile, more than 15 scared relics from the time of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel are on public display.

The relics comprise of a pair of silver dungs (horn), a wooden cup and a gomzha (meditation hat) believed to have been brought by Zhabdrung from Tibet.

Zhabdrung used the gomzha when he was presiding over important and sacred wangs (transmission of religious discourse). The hat is made of fine brown silk with intricate patterns.

Police, DeSuups, students and scouts are assisting in crowd control, while dzongkhag staff are distributing bottled water to people waiting in queue.

Dawa Gyelmo | Punakha