Hundreds have been involved in the preparations

Event: Punakha dzong is all set to observe 400 years of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal’s arrival in Bhutan on April 16, during which the naming ceremony of HRH The Gyalsey is also set to happen.

The event will also mark the 35 year reign of Zhabdrung Ngwang Namgyal in Bhutan after his arrival from Ralung, Tibet in the year 1616.

For more than three weeks, hundreds have been working to prepare for the much anticipated event. The roof of the dzong has been repainted and its walls white washed.

Outside the dzong, flags have been hoisted, tents pitched, roofs and gates encircled with gold coloured mentse-dhar and doors decorated with dhar-nganya (five-colored scarf).

Gardens have been tended to and fenced. An open-air gym has also been set up.

Traditional dancers practice their moves while monks prepare the sacred relics and statues for public display.

Cabinet secretary Dasho Kinzang Wangdi said planning for the celebrations was carried out under the guidance of the Zhabdrung Kuchoe Tendrel Tsechu Tshogchung, which is chaired by Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay.

Punakha Dzongdag Karma Drukpa said the main event will take place at the Thangzona, followed by the naming ceremony of HRH The Gyalsey at the dzong.

The main event on April 16 includes the display of the Zhabdrung Zaynami Tendrel tsechu showcasing the great deeds of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal.

This will be followed by His Majesty The King announcing HRH The Gyalsey’s name in the Thangzona.

A tokha to the public will then be granted followed by cultural programmes.

Inside the dzong, the Zhabdrung Phuensum Tshogpa thongdrel will be unfurled for public display.

The annual Jigten Wangchuk prayer recitation will be organised by the Jigten Wangchuk tshogpa inside the dzong and will continue for four days until April 18.

Dzongdag Karma Drukpa said sacred relics and statues of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal will be displayed for the public inside Punakha dzong from April 17 to 20.

The public can visit Punakha dzong to offer nyendhar to the thongdrels and to receive blessings from the Zhabdrung nangtens dispalyed in the dzong courtyard from April 17 to 22.

Meanwhile, the cabinet secretary said that people have been spreading wrong information that April 16 is an opportunity to get a glimpse of HRH The Gyalsey and offer thridhar. He said this is not true and the day will be solely to make Zhabdrung Kuchoe Tsesung.

He said people should not unnecessarily trouble themselves and rush to Punakha. “His Majesty The King and The Gyaltsuen will be visiting all 20 dzongkhags,” he said.

Dawa Gyelmo | Punakha