As Drukyul celebrates the 400th year of Zhabdrung Rinpoche’s arrival in the country, it is indeed most appropriate to organise an exhibition of his sacred relics to the general public. The Royal Textile Academy’s exhibition is timely, and provides an opportunity for  Bhutanese to pay homage and thank the Founder of our Drukyul.

Bhutanese from every walk of life, young and old, must know about Zhabdrung’s contributions to the country and be grateful. A legacy from the past that shaped the future.

As proud Bhutanese citizens, a reflection on this great personality, whose destiny was prophesied by Guru Rinpoche, will provide greater understanding of our existence as a sovereign nation with a unique identity.

Truly, it’s the legacy of the Zhabdrung Rinpoche that is living and vibrant as our country progresses in the modern era. Bhutan today is one of the most sought after tourist destinations in the world mainly due to our unique language, dress, culture and tradition, which emanated from him.

He ruled the country for 35 years when he was alive, and he ruled for 54 years more after his death, which was concealed under the pretext that he had entered into a strict retreat. Such was the sacred role played by Zhabdrung Rinpoche in shaping our nation state.

His major contributions include Rangjung Kharsapani  (a self created image of chenrezi), now a national treasure; Unification of Bhutan; Nga Chudrugma (the sixteen Is); Pazaabs (militias); creation of a unique national identity; Kathrim (code of law); the dzongs; and Choesid nyi (dual system of governance).

Therefore, the current exhibition titled “Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel – The Founder of Bhutan”, showcasing sacred artifacts and relics, kuthangs, textiles and photographs that belonged to Zhabdrung Rinpoche and his lineage, provides a golden opportunity for the public to pay homage and get a glimpse of a time immemorial.

Our Druk Gyalpo always pays His respects to the founder during the national addresses. Here is one from 2011 National Day address: “That the sun of peace and prosperity may always shine on Bhutan – a nation blessed by the teachings of Lord Buddha – a Shangri-La blessed by the great Guru Rinpoche and founded by our revered and beloved parent Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel – a country born from the labour of Jigme Singye Wangchuck and the people of Bhutan.”