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Semtokha's first Dhanama thongdrel unfurled

Zhabdrung Dhanama: Thousands of devotees visited the Semtokha dzong to witness the unfurling of the dzong's first thongdrel, the Zhabdrung Dhanama thongdrel to mark Zhabdrung Kuchoe.

The 14ft wide and 16ft long thongdrel, took 11 months to complete, said officials of the Institute of Language and Cultural Studies.

Dhanama represents Zhabdrung as an incarnation of Buddha Tsepamay, which is depicted by a small image on Zhabdrung's chest on the thongdrel.The central image is surrounded by incarnations of Zhabdrung, known as Zhabdrung Phunsumtshogpa.

Officials from the institute said the thongdrel was made with contribution from some 300 ILCS graduates.

"Each graduate contributed a minimum of Nu 3,000 for the thongdrel, which is dedicated to the tsa-wa-sum, and also in memory of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal," lopon Kuenzang from the institute said.Lopon Kuenzang is the secretary of the committee at the institute that coordinates the process of making a thongdrel.

ILCS students and police had to control the crowd, who had queued up to get a glimpse of the thongdrel.By 9.30am, the queue had extended to the dzong's entrance.
Lopen Kuenzang said the total cost that went in making the thongdrel is Nu 1.7M, of which Nu 1.3M has been paid.

Teachers in Paro, who graduated from ILCS, raisedNu 400,000 for the thongdrel. "None of the students, who graduated from ILCS, are unemployed so far," a teacher from Paro and ILCS graduate of 2009, Sonam Dorji said. "It might be a blessing from the Zhabdrung."

Contributes by Kuensel, Bhutan's National Newspaper
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