Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Currency - Bhutan - 10 Ngultrum - Year 2013

Item Code:  151/BT-1

King Jigme Singye Wangchuk at right
Paro Dzong Palace at center
King Jigme Singye Wangchuk
125 x 65 mm    

Obverse description

King Jigme Singye Wangchuk

Jigme Singye Wangchuck (born 11 November 1955) was the King of Bhutan (Druk Gyalpo) from 1972 until his abdication in favour of his eldest son, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, in 2006. He is credited with many modern reforms in the country and reigned through the ethnic cleansing in Bhutan.
Jigme Singye Wangchuck was born at Dechencholing Palace, Thimphu on 11 November 1955, to Jigme Dorji Wangchuck and Ashi Kesang Choden Wangchuck. Wangchuck received western and traditional learning in various institutions. He began studying at Dechencholing Palace, when he was six years old, in 1961. Soon afterwards, he went to study at St Joseph's College, Darjeeling, in India. In 1964, he attended Heatherdown Prep School in England where he completed his studies in 1969. The next phase of his formal education took place at Namselling Palace in 1969. Finally, he attended Ugyen Wangchuck Academy at Satsham Choten in Paro, which was established in 1970, along with a class of selected students from all over Bhutan.
In 1971, Wangchuck's father appointed Wangchuck as the Chairman of Planning Commission, charged with the planning and co-ordination of the five year development plan. The following year, on June 16, 1972, he was made the Tongsa Penlop bestowing on him directly the yellow scarf or namza. The 3rd Five-Year Plan, which spanned the period 1971-77, was in progress when his father died. Wangchuck was 16 at that time. 1972 to 1976 was the period of the 3rd FYP, and 1976 to 1981 was the period of 4th FYP. As both King and the Chairman of the Planning Commission, the clearing house for the programmes and projects, Wangchuck guided the planned activities first in broad terms and then increasingly in detail.
In a public ceremony, the Royal Wedding of Wangchuck was held in Dechog Lhakhang in Punakha Dzong on 31 October 1988, corresponding with the Descending Day of Buddha. The four queens, Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck, Tshering Pem Wangchuck, Tshering Yangdon Wangchuck and Sangay Choden Wangchuck are daughters of Yab Ugyen Dorji, the descendant of both the mind and speech incarnations of Ngawang Namgyal, and Yum Thuiji Zam.
Former King Jigme Singye Wangchuck of Bhutan with his four Queens

Wangchuck emphasised a two-fold foreign policy for Bhutan: to deepen Bhutan’s relations with India and to create new bonds of friendship with fellow members of the UN. To diversify the sources of funding, Bhutan cultivated close relationships with the UN, ever since the visit of a UN Under-Secretary General in 1974. Relationships with other nations widened rapidly after 1974. The Coronation of 1974 brought a large numbers of foreign delegates. Representatives of some 18 nations attended the Coronation. Notably, Chinese representative also attended. Bhutan had supported China’s seat in the United Nations in 1971 soon after Bhutan became a member of the UN. In parallel to the increase in development assistance, the decade between 1980 and 1990 was a period of enhanced diplomacy for Bhutan. In this decade, under the guidance of Wangchuck, Bhutan established diplomatic relations with 17 out of the existing 53 countries, and became associated with 12 out of 20 organizations of the United Nations family.

Reverse description:  
Punakha Dzong
A panoramic view of the Punakha Dzong, the old capital of Bhutan, at the confluence of Pho Chu and Mo Chu rivers

The Punakha Dzong, also known as Pungtang Dechen Photrang Dzong (meaning very awesome dzong "the palace of great happiness or bliss"), is the administrative centre of Punakha District in Punakha, Bhutan. Constructed by Ngawang Namgyal, 1st Zhabdrung Rinpoche, in 1637–38, it is the second oldest and second largest dzong in Bhutan and one of its most majestic structures. The dzong houses the sacred relics of the southern Drukpa Lineage of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism, including the Rangjung Kasarpani and the sacred remains of Ngawang Namgyal and the tertön Pema Lingpa.
Punakha Dzong was the administrative centre and the seat of the Government of Bhutan until 1955, when the capital was moved to Thimphu. It is listed as a tentative site in Bhutan's Tentative List for UNESCO inclusion. The wedding of the Druk Gyalpo, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, and his fiancée, Jetsun Pema, was held at the Punakha Dzong on 13 October 2011.

Demoche is the annual festival held at the Dzong, which is largely attended by people from all villages and far places of the district. The ranghung "self-created" image of Avalokitesvara enshrined in the utse of the dzong (brought by the Zhabdrung from Tibet) is displayed during the festival. During this five-day festival, also known as Punakha festival, held in February/March, there are some very impressive displays. The important display is a re-enactment of the Tibetan invasion of Bhutan in 1639 where the Tibetans were defeated. In this theatrical display, which was conceived by the Zhamdrung, a mock throwing of a relic to the Mo chu river is dramatized.

Punakha Dzong (interior view)
The final day of the festival marks the display of an image of Zhabdrung followed by a group dance performance by 136 people, dressed as warriors, in the main courtyard. At the end of the performance, the dancers descend down the front entrance of the dzong in revelry – whistling and shouting. The Monks led by the Je Khenpo of the Dzong then parade to the Mo chu river bank with lot of fan fare. Je Khenpo then flings oranges into the river marking the Rangjung Kharsapani, which is considered an offering to the nāgas residing below the river bed. After this act, the traditional mask dances commemorating the construction of the Dzong are performed in the Dzong premises.
Another ritual observed every year at this dzong is called the Lhenkey Dungchhur, and is a worship for departed souls.

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