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Her Majesty Gayum Phuntsho Choden
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Bhutan bids farewell to Gayum Kudroe
Purjang ceremony
Gayum Kudroe's Kudung way to Bumthang
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Gayum Kudroe's Kudung
Bhutan bids farewell to Gayum Kudroe
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Her late Majesty
Gayum Phuntsho Choden 1911-2003
October 18 2003
The sacred purjang ceremony of the late Gayum Kudroe, Her Majesty Ashi Phuntsho Choden Wangchuck, was held at the Kurje Lhakhang in Bumthang, attended by His Majesty the King, the royal family, and thousands of people from all parts of the country and from overseas.
The purjang ceremony was taking place at the historical nye
Kurje Lhakhang, Bumthang
Photo: Kuensel
Purjang ceremony
Kurje Lhakhang, Bumthang

The purjang ceremony was taking place at the sacred historical nye, Kurje Lhakhang in Bumthang. Led by His Holiness the Je Khenpo, His Holiness the Je Thrizur, the four lopons of the central monk body, as well as Gangtoe Trulku, Thuksey Rinpoche, and Sungtruel Rinpoche, more than 440 monks are performing the ceremony from four directions, facing the Purkhang. The liturgical ceremonies began at 4.00 am when Gayum Kudroe's kudung was escorted from the Guru Lhakhang to the purkhang by the royal family, accompanied by a serdang ceremony by the monks of Choetse rabdey.


Kurje Lhakhang, Bumthang The Purjang ceremony (enflaming of the kudung) is being performed in a special Purdung Jangchub Chhorten (traditional pyre) constructed for Gayum Kudroe. With the prime minister, representing the government, the chief justice representing the judiciary and the speaker of the National Assembly, representing the legislature, hundreds of Bhutanese dignitaries have also attending the purjang in their personal capacities along with thousands of well wishers from all parts of the country.
The purthey (ashes) of Gayum Kudroe will be immersed in the river next day followed by the jabchho (concluding ritual ceremony) which will be performed by His Holiness the Je Khenpo, His Holiness the Je Thrizur, the four Lopons and monks.

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Gayum Kudroe's Kudung way to Bumthang

On October 13, 2003 the kudung was seen off from the Dechenchholing Gonpaby His Majesty the King and Their Majesties the Queens. The kudung was received at Tashichhodzong by His Holiness the Je Khenpo, the four lopons, and senior officials. The Je Khenpo offered prayers and transferred the Godar from the kudung to the Tashichhodzong, symbolising Gayum Kudroe's prayers for the well being of the people and country.

The kudung was seen off by thousands of people from all cross sections of Thimphu's population who lined the roads. At the Dochula pass cabinet ministers, councilors, dzongkhag officials, and well wishers received the kudung. The kudung stayed overnight in Wangduephodrang where thousands of people paid their last respects. The monks of the Wangduephodrang rabdey also performed the Gongdue Tshokhor for the late Gayum Kudroe.

The Kudung rested briefly at the Thruepang Palace in Trongsa where Her Majesty gave birth to the third Druk Gyalpo, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. People from the five geogs of Trongsa dzongkhag came to offer their prayers and pay homage to the late Gayum Kudroe.

Gayum Kudroe's last journey was a deeply emotional experience for tens of thousands of people who lined the national highway, from Thimphu to Bumthang, prostrating, offering prayers, lighting incense, holding flowers, many of them in tears.

The kudung was received in traditional ceremony by the rabdey of Jakar dzong and the dzongkhag officials at Kurje Lhakhang on October 14, 2003 Gayum Kudroe's kudung was placed in the main Guru Lhakhang in Kurje, for three days. The monks of Jakar and Choetse rabdeys performed the zhithro kangsha (ritual for clearing of defilements), the dragmar (a ritual to Guru Kilaya). They also performed the thuji chhenpo dungye rangdroel, a ritual to Chenrezig (Avalokitesvara).

The government has announced that schools and businesses will be closed to mark the purjang ceremony and to enable people who are not able to attend the purjang to offer butter lamps and prayers wherever they are and at lhakangs around the country.

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