YK Poudel

The celebration was not grand. From afar, it was just another archery match. But more than two dozen senior citizens, many of them octogenarians, playing archery at Wang Danglo, Thimphu, was more than a mere archery match.

The event was to celebrate the birth of Her Royal Highness the Gyalsem. They chose Wang Danglo, the village of Khando Sonam Pelden, the consort of Phajo Drugom Zhigpo, the saint who was instrumental in propagating the Drukpa School of Buddhism in the country.

Coordinator of the celebrations, the former Zhung Kalyon, Dasho Rinzin Gyeltshen, said that Khando Sonam Pelden was a revered historical figure in Bhutan. “There is no connotation on the Royal Birth and the choice of the archery ground, yet the place is auspicious and holds a profound significance in Bhutan’s history,” he said.

The match, he said, is a simple yet meaningful choice for the celebration, as archery is the national sport of Bhutan and the birth of the Gyalsem was of national importance.

Former Gyalpoi Zimpon to the Fourth King, Dasho Dorji Gyeltshen, expressed his deep joy at the birth of the Royal Princess. “Personally, having had the privilege to serve the nation and the king since the time of the Third Druk Gyalpo, it is an honor to participate in this celebration,” said the former Zimpon, 86.

Although it is just an archery match, it is significant because senior citizens are taking part in the joyous and significant occasion of the birth of the Gyalsem, according to former Speaker of the National Assembly, Dasho Pasang Dorji. “Our ancestors received a Khando (Sonam Pelden) in the 11th century and we are witnessing the arrival of another,” said Dasho Pasang Dorji.

The day-long event was supported by the Chairman of Yarkay Group, Omtay Penjor.