Bhutan mourns with the people of Thailand

| Karma Yuden, Thimphu


On October 26, 2017, His Majesty The King and Her Majesty The Gyaltsuen offered last respects to His Late Majesty King Bhumibol of Thailand, during the Royal Cremation Ceremony at Sanam Luang in Bangkok.

His Majesty conveyed messages of condolence to His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn of Thailand, on behalf of the people of Bhutan.

Following a yearlong mourning period in Thailand for the beloved King, His Late Majesty King Bhumibol was cremated on October 26, 2017. His Late Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej passed away on October 13, last year. More than 42 countries were represented by Kings, Queens, Royalty, Presidents, Prime Ministers, and senior leaders, gathered in Bangkok to pay last respects to His late Majesty King Bhumibol.

Due to the special relations between Bhutan and Thailand, and the deep admiration in Bhutan for His Late Majesty King Bhumibol, prayers were offered at Kuenselphodrang, presided over by His Holiness the Je Khenpo, for His Late Majesty. Members of the Royal Family of Bhutan attended the prayer ceremony.

The day also saw graduates from different colleges’ in Bhutan offer their prayers. Led by Tandin, a social worker in Thimphu, 1,000 butter-lamps were lit by the graduates at the Zangdogpelri next to the Centenary Farmers’ Market, in Thimphu. Tandin said Late King Bhumibol Adulyadej was a King for all sentient beings. “I have followed the works of Late King Bhumibol and can justifiably say that if Thailand is what it is today, the credit should go to Late King Bhumibol.”

Sonam Choeki, a graduate, who was part of the group, said every soul that departs, need to be accompanied by prayers. “And when it concerns a personality like Late King Bhumibol, who has touched the hearts of people beyond Thailand, there is every reason to offer our prayers,” she said. Her friend Drukda Dorji, also a graduate, said the demise of King Bhumibol on October 13, last year was a “loss for the world.” “The world needs people and leaders like late Majesty Bhumibol of Thailand, and I pray that His soul return to the world,” he said.

Bhutan observed a day of mourning on October 14, 2016, and schools and offices remained closed, to enable Thai nationals living and working in Bhutan, as well as Bhutanese, to offer their prayers and respects. The National Flag was flown at half-mast. On the same day, His Majesty visited the National Memorial Chorten and led the chanting of prayers. Prayers were also offered at the Tashichhodzong, led by Her Majesty the Royal Grandmother.

Their Majesties visited Thailand on October 16, 2016, to offer respects as His Late Majesty King Bhumibol lay in state in the Grand Palace’s Phra Thinang Dusit Maha Prasat Throne Hall.

Bhutan and Thailand established diplomatic relations in 1989, and Druk Air, the national airlines, began regular flights to Bangkok, opening up travel and communication between the peoples of the two countries. Thailand has established a consulate in Bhutan, but also uses its embassy in Dhaka, Bangladesh to coordinate its relations with Bhutan and its activities.

His Majesty The King visited Thailand as Crown Prince in 2006, to attend the 60th Anniversary of His late Majesty King Bhumibol’s 60th Anniversary of Accession to the throne. The relations between Bhutan and Thailand attained an exceptionally warm and intimate dimension following the visit, with an outpouring of affection for His Majesty from the people of Thailand.

This relation has strengthened with numerous Bhutanese travelling to Thailand for studies, work, medical treatment, business, and holidays, and an increasing number of reciprocal visits from Thai nationals. Among the many areas of cooperation between Bhutan and Thailand, the Queen’s Project has been receiving wholehearted support from the Royal Projects of Thailand geared towards empowering local economies through strengthening cottage enterprises, for similar projects in Bhutan.

Late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, was born at Cambridge Hospital (now Mount Auburn Hospital) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the United States of America, on December 5, 1927. Bhumibol Adulyadej, means “strength of the land, incomparable power.” He was crowned King of Thailand on May 5, 1950.  He pledged that he would “reign with righteousness for the benefit and happiness of the Siamese people.” The King who ruled Thailand for decades, was sometimes referred to as King Rama IX in English, while Thais referred to him as NaiLuang or Phra Chao Yu Hua, which means “the King” and “Lord Upon our Heads”, respectively. He was also called Chao Chiwit (“Lord of Life”). The world’s longest-reigning monarch was Thailand’s unifying force and a King devoted to helping his people.

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