The King of Bhutan regularly visits his people

Email

The royals of Bhutan have an honourable legacy. Visiting their people is part of it.

The history of the royal family of Bhutan

In the 17th century, Bhutan became a unified polity under the charismatic Ngawang Namgyal, who was a religious master of the drukpa school. He was bestowed the respected title of Zhabdrung Rinpoche, which means “Precious Jewel at Whose Feet One Prostrates”. Zhabdrung Ngawang established a new system of administration and law. Under this dual system of governance, the Je Khenpo (chief abbot) ruled the Central Monastic Body, whereas the desi (secular ruler) managed the political system. This lasted until 1907 when the Wangchuck dynasty took over.

The Wangchuck family has a long and lustrous history. They hail from the district of Trongsa where they governed, as descendants of the aristocrat Dungkar Choji. They gained influence by defeating the other regional lords. Finally, Ugyen Wangchuck was appointed the first Druk Gyalpo (“Dragon King”), also known as the King of Bhutan. 

Ugyen Wangchuck was aware that Bhutan would need support in case of conflict with outside forces, thus he forged a good relationship with the British. During the negotiation between Britain and Tibet, he assisted in the exchange. After Ugyen Wangchuck passed away in 1926, the role of Druk Gyalpo was passed down to his son, Jigme Wangchuck.

Jigme Wangchuck initiated administrative reforms in the Kingdom where the king held absolute power over all things religious and secular. On top of that, modern education exists in Bhutan today to his credit. He was also responsible for the signing of the Indo-Bhutan Treaty with India, which called for peace between the two nations. The country was politically stable under his governance.

Jigme Dorji Wangchuck further promoted his father’s efforts in the implementation of a modern education system. The third kind of Bhutan is also known as the Father of Modern Bhutan. His time as a student in England gave him a wider perspective; he moved Bhutan out of isolation and embraced modernisation. He also introduced Bhutan to democracy, establishing the Tshongdu (national assembly) which could remove the king from power with a two-thirds majority.

The next king, Jigme Singye Wangchuck came into power at 17 years old. Despite his young age, he made tremendous changes that bettered the country. His emphasis was economic self-reliance, which Bhutan strived for without sacrificing their culture, tradition and natural environment. He coined the acclaimed Gross National Happiness strategy that emphasises progress and development in society over Gross National Product. King Jigme Singye recognised the importance of a grounded national identity, which led to his “One nation, One People” policy, promoting the Bhutanese etiquette, national costume, and national language.

The present king is Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, whose list of contributions is long and powerful. He personally pushed and oversaw the peaceful transition from absolute to constitutional monarchy. He launched the De-suups (Guardians of Peace) programme, signed a new treaty with India, and was at the forefront of the efforts during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, to name a few. 

King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, known fondly as the People’s King, travelled around the country to personally oversee the measures to combat the pandemic. In June 2021, he trekked for five days through difficult terrain to visit communities in the south affected by the pandemic. The journey took him through muddy trails and leech-infested forests.

Royal tours

Every now and then, the King of Bhutan takes a Royal Tour through the country to visit his people, travelling to every corner of the Kingdom, including the remote villages.

Recently, King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and Queen Jetsun Pema toured the Southern dzongkhags. They offered prayers at the Samtse Shivalaya Mandir and met with the people of Samtse.

They also met with the Desuups of the 52nd Training Programme. Concerned about the happenings in the area, they listened to the Samtse Dzongkhag officials and sector heads. 

Royal tours have been a cherished tradition in the royal family for many years now, and it is an expression of their care for the people of Bhutan. 

Soon, we might see the Crown Prince of Bhutan participate in royal tours too. The six-year-old has already taken on public duties, attending royal engagements with his parents. This year, he even inaugurated the Jigme Namgyel Wangchuck FabLab at the tech park in Thimphu all by himself. 

Thus we can expect him to one day continue the tradition in his father’s stead, commencing royal tours to all corners of Bhutan, where he would extend a loving hand to his people. 



Related Posts

His Majesty the King continues to encourage the Bhutanese amidst...

His Majesty the King spent his 42nd birthday touring the region that's most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Feb 22, 2022 10:36

The sacrifice of an extraordinary King in these difficult times

“The most powerful leadership tool you have is your own personal example.” – John Wooden

Jun 14, 2021 16:57

Bhutanese actor raise awareness on climate change by cycling...

Jamyang Jamtsho Wangchuk launched The Messenger: Ride for Action, planting trees and talking to everybody.

Nov 25, 2022 15:18

Cordyceps Sinensis, the super mushrooms of Bhutan

Cordyceps Sinensis has many health benefits, which includes being an aphrodisiac.

Sep 25, 2022 16:50

Here is what you need to know about tailoring in Bhutan

Bhutan continues to train tailors in both traditional Bhutanese tailoring and western dressmaking.

Aug 28, 2022 21:56

There is a love for chess in Bhutan

The Bhutanese chess team showed impressive results at the recent Chess Olympiad.

Aug 18, 2022 22:17

Latest

News

Progress on Bhutan's Sustainable Low Emission Urban Transport System Project

Bhutan now has 200 electric vehicles on the road, with another hundred to be dispatched very soon.

Nov 29, 2022 18:13

Translation of His Majesty's Address to the Nation at the 8th Session of the Third Parliament

His Majesty delivered the Royal Address on the Opening Ceremony of the 8th Session of the Third Parliament, 4th November, 2022.

Nov 05, 2022 15:23

Features

Bhutanese actor raise awareness on climate change by cycling through Bhutan

Jamyang Jamtsho Wangchuk launched The Messenger: Ride for Action, planting trees and talking to everybody.

Nov 25, 2022 15:18

Cordyceps Sinensis, the super mushrooms of Bhutan

Cordyceps Sinensis has many health benefits, which includes being an aphrodisiac.

Sep 25, 2022 16:50

Business

School in Lhuentse embrace entrepreneurship through Chip Production Unit

Bhutan endeavours to guide their youth towards innovation and creativity. The trickle-down effect has seen Tangmachu Central School’s...

Nov 29, 2022 18:04

The enormous role of hydropower in Bhutan

Bhutan uses hydropower to conserve the environment, produce electricity, and achieve economic self-reliance.

Jan 25, 2022 11:43

Sports

More Bhutanese youths are engaged in football

Sitting at the 186th position in the FIFA rankings, Bhutan looks to improve its rankings in the years to come.

Aug 03, 2022 20:19

BOB Bhutan Premier League is coming back soon with a bang

There’s an atmosphere of excitement and anticipation growing in the valleys of Bhutan as football fans in the country await what appears to...

Jul 24, 2022 14:47

Travel

A tale of two airports in Bhutan

As the slow pace towards a pre-pandemic world begins, two of the country’s domestic airports are going through their own challenges and...

Nov 03, 2022 16:30

What you need to know about birdwatching in Bhutan

The best seasons and locations for birdwatching in the Kingdom of Bhutan.

Sep 25, 2022 16:57

Lifestyle

Chillies, a spicy affair in Bhutan

The Bhutanese love it hot.

Jun 07, 2022 23:55

Bhutan is traditionally a matriarchal society

Women are the decision-makers at home, but something is keeping them from public life.

May 27, 2022 22:14

COVID-19

A detailed summary of Bhutan's COVID-19 management and plans moving forward

With offices and all businesses open, movement of vehicles allowed and critical services resumed from 21st March 2022, Bhutan braces for a...

Mar 22, 2022 11:23

Vaccinated tourists to undergo 5-day quarantine in Bhutan from April 25

What you need to know about entering Bhutan from April 25.

Mar 14, 2022 14:21

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!

Download Daily Bhutan Mobile App

Connecting with us just got easier!