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The King and I: Notes from a coronation

November 20, 2008
In what was undoubtedly one of Bhutan's largest celebrations, dancer Astad Deboo performed for His Royal Highness, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, to celebrate his coronation as the country's youngest king.

The 28-year-old Dragon king has an MPhil from Oxford and is also the world's youngest head of State.

The only foreign artist specially commissioned by the Government of India to perform for the event, Deboo, one of India's leading artistes, discusses his performance, Bhutan and the coronation in a first person feature, exclusive to

The locals in Bhutan revere their king. They hold him in great esteem because there was never any dictatorship. The people's welfare was always taken into account by the monarchy. The king's birthday is a national holiday.

For the coronation, there was a week-long holiday in Bhutan. There was an air of excitement everywhere and people indulged in constant celebration. The whole city was lit up in the evenings in honour of the king's coronation.

If you go to Bhutanese homes, shops or offices, you'll see photographs of the king. This time, to commemorate the coronation, they issued a series of new currency notes, which are supposed to be very difficult to counterfeit.

As told to Insiyah Vahanvaty. Image: The Himalayan kingdom is marked by monasteries, temples, plenty of traditional wood carvings and huge courtyards. Photograph: Astad Deboo

Also read: Indian spectacle at Bhutan king's coronation

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