On behalf of the people of Bhutan, His Majesty The King and Her Majesty The Gyaltsuen yesterday offered prayers at the Kuenrey of the Tashichhodzong, and offered a thousand butterlamps, in memory of those who lost their lives in a series of bomb attacks in Sri Lanka on Sunday. The Prime Minister and government officials also joined in the prayer ceremony.

More than 290 people lost their lives, and over 500 were injured following eight explosions in Colombo, Negombo and Batticaloa, which mainly targeted churches and hotels as people were worshipping and celebrating Easter Sunday.

His Majesty sent a message of condolence to the President of Sri Lanka, Maithripala Sirisena, expressing solidarity of the people of Bhutan with the people of Sri Lanka.

Along with a prayer ceremony at the Tashichhodzong, special prayers are also being held in other important temples, on the Command of His Majesty The King.  His Holiness the Je Khenpo presided over prayers at Namdroling Goenzin Dratshang in Lhuentse. Chenrezi Moenlam was performed in Changangkha Lhakhang, and a thousand butterlamps were offered in Kyichu Lhakhang, Paro, where Zangchoe Moenlam was performed. In Semtokha dzong, a three-day Mithub Tongchae prayer ceremony is being performed.

Bhutan and Sri Lanka have close relations due to a shared spiritual heritage, and as co-members of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). Bhutan continues to send a number of students to study medicine in Sri Lanka each year, and a large number of Bhutanese doctors have a special connection to Sri Lanka, having lived and studied there.

Education officials told Kuensel that Bhutanese students in Sri Lanka are safe. On Sunday, Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering posted on the PMO official Facebook page condemning the heinous and senseless acts of violence.

“I am deeply shocked to learn of the bomb attacks in Sri Lanka today that has taken the lives of so many innocent victims. We strongly condemn such heinous and senseless acts of violence,” lyonchhen said. “The Royal Government and the people of Bhutan join me in expressing our solidarity with the Government and friendly people of Sri Lanka and extend our deepest condolences to the bereaved families. Our thoughts and prayers are with bereaved families in this hour of sadness.”