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Crown Prince is Chhoetse Penlop
His Royal Highness the Chhoetse Penlop in the kuenrey of the Tashichhodzong

Marking another important moment in Bhutanese history, His Royal Highness the Crown Prince Dasho Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, officially assumed the title of Chhoetse Penlop on October 21, 2004 corresponding to the eighth day of the ninth month of the Bhutanese calendar.

The Crown Prince received the Dhar and Seal of the Chhoetse Penlop from His Majesty the Druk Gyalpo in the Throne Room of the Tashichhodzong in a ceremony attended by the royal family.

This was followed by the traditional Tendrel ceremony in the kuenrey of the Tashichhodzong which was performed by His Holiness the Je Khenpo and attended by members of the royal family, the council of ministers, senior government officials, dignitaries and members of the international community. The minister of State for External Affairs, Mr. Rao Inderjit Singh, attended the ceremony as the representative of the government of India.

Bhutan's Prime Minister
Lyonpo Yeshey Zimba
His Holiness
the Je Khenpo
Indian minister of State
for External Affairs
Mr. Rao Inderjit Singh
As Chhoetse Penlop the Crown Prince is formally installed as the heir to the Golden Throne. The event is of great significance not only in the life of the Crown Prince but also to the people of Bhutan as the continuity of the Monarchy, the strength and the unifying force of the Bhutanese people, is assured.

The historic day began with His Royal Highness arriving at the East Gate of the Tashichhodzong where he was received by the palace, dratshang and government officials before proceeding to the Throne Room to receive the Dhar and Seal of the Chhoetse Penlop from His Majesty. The Crown Prince then emerged into the sun bathed courtyard of the Tashichhodzong wearing for the first time, the saffron yellow (Lungser) scarf of the Chhoetse Penlop and offered Nyendhar and prayers to the more than 200-year-old Guru Thongdroel, which was last unfurled 41 years ago, the newly created Guru Tshengyed Thongdroel and the Neten Chudrug Thongdroel draped on the walls of the utse (central tower) and Guru lhakhang of the Tashichhodzong. His Royal Highness sent out khadhars bearing the seal of the Chhoetse Penlop to all the lhakhangs and goendeys throughout the country.

After offering Nyendhar and prayers in the Goenkhang of Tashichhodzong His Royal Highness proceeded to the upper chamber of the kuenrey where the sacred Tendrel and Zhugdrel Phuensum Tshogpa ceremony was performed by His Holiness the Je Khenpo.

The more than 200-year-old Guru Thongdroel
which was unfurled at the Tashichhodzong
after 41 years to mark the auspicious
occasion of the ascension of
His Royal Highness as Chhoetse Penlop.
Neten Chudrug Thongdroel at Tashichhodzong

After the Tendrel and Zhugdrel Phuensum Tshogpa ceremony, His Holiness offered the Tashi Ze-Gye (eight auspicious objects which represent events in the Buddha's life) and the Tashi Ta-Gye (eight auspicious symbols) and the representatives of the royal family, clergy, government and the people offered the Mendrel Ku-Sung-Thuk-Ten which represents an offering of the universe and symbolises the expression of ultimate appreciation to His Royal Highness. This was followed by the offering of Thridhar by the council of ministers, the four lopons of the central monk body, senior government officials, dignitaries and representatives of the international community and guests attending the ceremony.

"The Crown Prince becoming the Chhoetse Penlop symbolises that the peace, stability and prosperity the Bhutanese are enjoying today will continue in the future," said Prime Minister Lyonpo Yeshey Zimba.

"Bhutan has come thus far because of His Majesty's wise and dynamic leadership and we are confident that this will continue in the future. His Royal Highness the Crown Prince is well educated and has the best interests of the nation at heart. We have already seen his deep concern for the people, especially the underprivileged people, and his sense of justice and fairness -these are wonderful qualities to have in the future King of Bhutan."

The Chhoetse Penlop then proceeded to the Dechenchholing Palace where he was received in a chipdrel procession and escorted into the chhoeshum chamber (altar room) of the Palace for the Zhugdrel Phunsam Tshogpa ceremony. At the conclusion of the ceremony Her Majesty the Queen Mother, Ashi Kesang Choeden Wangchuck offered the Tashi Khadhar to His Royal Highness followed by trulkus and lams from Bhutan and outside the country.

The celebrations marking the auspicious and joyous event began soon after in the spacious gardens of the palace with the Royal Academy of Performing Arts, the Royal Bhutan Army brass band and other performers performing mask and traditional Bhutanese dances, songs and music for the guests, senior government officials, dignitaries, representatives of the international community and the public.

By afternoon, people from all walks of life began pouring into the Dechenchholing Palace to offer Tashi Khadar and pay their respects to the Chhoetse Penlop demonstrating the deep love and affection among the people for the Monarchy.

The offering of the Tashi Khadar to the Chhoetse Penlop by the public continued the next day in an atmosphere of festivity and reverence. As thousands of people continued to come to pay their respects and felicitate His Royal Highness the offering of the Tashi Khadar was extended and is also taking place.

"It is an occasion to rejoice and an invaluable opportunity to pay your respects to the Chhoetse Penlop, the future King," said Tshering Dorji a judiciary staff who had also brought along his two children to pay their respects to the Crown Prince. "It is a privilege to be part of this historic occasion and my children will feel the same too in the years to come," . For Sangay Tenzin, a senior civil servant, the appointment of the His Royal Highness as the Chhoetse Penlop meant that the country was readying itself for a new era. "I have come here to offer my deepest gratitude to the Monarchy and pray for future of Bhutan," he said. A class VIII student of Jigme Namgyel Higher Secondary School, Kezang Choden said that she was happy and honoured to be a part of history. "It is a happy occasion because I know my future is secure."

The traditional ceremonies and celebrations of the Chhoetse Penlop will continue in Trongsa on October 31 and November 1, 2004 The traditional investiture ceremony will be conducted in the Zimchung Nang (inner sanctum) of the Trongsa Dzong where the first and second Kings resided, on October 31 and the celebrations will be held the following day.


Crown Prince installed as Chhoetse Penlop
Trongsa: 31 October 2004
The Royal Bhutan Army present a guard of honour to His Royal Highness in Tencholing, Wangduephodrang
Thousands of people from Trongsa and the neighbouring districts gathered in Trongsa to pay their respects to His Royal Highness Crown Prince Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck who was formally installed as Chhoetse Penlop in Trongsa Dzong on October 31, 2004, the 18th day of the ninth month of the Wood Monkey year.

His Royal Highness was received at the Thruepang Palace in Trongsa by the dzongkhag officials, clergy and the people's representatives of the Mangdue Tshozhi.

The traditional Tendrel ceremony was conducted in the chamber of Chhoetse Penlop (Zimchungnang) with the Zhugdrel Phuensum Tshogpa ceremony.

The monks of the Chhoetse Rabdey then offered the Tashi-Ze-Gey (eight auspicious objects) and Gyalsey Naduen (seven treasures of a universal King) to the Chhoetse Penlop followed by the offering of Mendrel Ku-Sung-Thuk-Ten by the dzongkhag officials and the representatives of Mangdue Tshozhi.

The traditional celebrations on the auspicious occasion will continue on November 1 where His Royal Highness will participate in an archery match with the people of Mangdue Tsho Zhi and host a Tokha."

This article was contributed by Rinzin Wangchuk, KUENSEL, Bhutan's national newspaper, 2004
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