Phurpa Lhamo | Punakha

In a historic moment, the nation witnessed the convergence of the past, present and the future as three generations of the Wangchuck dynasty graced the grounds of Pungthang Dewachhenpoi Phodrang yesterday.

The 113th National Day celebration was held inside the Punakha Dzong which served as the residence of the revered Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel more than 400 years ago.

The select guests for the event including civil servants, foreign diplomats, and other dignitaries gradually gathered at the Dzong donning their best attire and facemasks.

Her Majesty Queen Grandmother, Gyalyum Kesang Choeden Wangchuck was escorted into the Dzong, followed by His Holiness Je Khenpo and His Majesty The Fourth King.

Around 9am, His Majesty The King, Her Majesty The Gyaltsuen and Their Royal Highnesses the Princes were received with a chibdrel ceremony.

While His Royal Highness Gyalsey Jigme Namgyel Wangchuck treaded along His Majesty The King, Her Majesty The Gyeltsuen cuddled Gyalsey Ugyen Wangchuck in Her arms throughout the chibdrel ceremony.

The members of the Parliament and Cabinet ministers joined the ceremony.

The rest of the country watched the live broadcast from Punakha and eagerly waited for the highlight of the event, His Majesty The King’s national address.

His Majesty The King standing in front of sacred Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel’s Throngdrel addressed the nation.

His Majesty The King spoke at length on the reforms necessary in the civil service and the education sector and issued kashos to that effect.

The address ended with the award of three red scarfs, Lungmar to Lyonchhen Dr Lotay Tshering, and Druk Thuksey institutional medals to DeSuung and Ministry of Health.

Following His Majesty’s address to the nation, a 45-minute dance-drama prepared by Royal Academy of Performing Arts (RAPA) with local participants including students, dzongkhag dancers, gewog pazaps and desuups began.

The dance drama was performed with the backdrop of an elephant model and the Punakha Dzong on its trunk and history unfolded.

Given the strict Covid-19 pandemic, lunch for the guests was served at five locations.

His Royal Highness Gyaltshab Jigme Dorji Wangchuck and Ashi Yeatso Lhamo celebrated the National Day in Trashiyangtse. His Royal Highness Jigyel Ugyen Wangchuck joined the members of public, clergy, local governments and armed forces in celebrating the day at Tali Dratshang, Gelephu.

Around 160,000 Bhutanese took part in the online lottery.

The 113th National Day concluded with the traditional buelwa offering, an expression of love and devotion, from the representatives of the people of Bhutan to His Majesty The King.