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Bhutan`s royal couple in India on nine-day visit

Last Updated: Monday, October 24, 2011 - 00:11

New Delhi: Bhutan`s immensely popular King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck arrived here with his newlywed queen, Jetsun Pema, on a nine-day state visit to India on Sunday.

The visit comes soon after the 31-year-old Oxford-educated King married the 21-year-old Pema, daughter of an airline pilot, in an elaborate ceremony replete with Buddhist mysticism at a monastic fortress in Punakha on October 13.

Dressed in traditional Bhutanese attire, Wangchuck and Pema appeared all set for their India tour, which is incidentally the King`s first visit abroad after his wedding.

The charismatic royal couple was accorded a warm welcome upon their arrival at a New Delhi airport, where India`s junior telecom minister, Milind Deora, received them with honour.

During their visit, Wangchuck and Pema will be meeting Indian President, Pratibha Devisingh Patil, Vice President Hamid Ansari and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, besides other dignitaries.

According to government sources, the royal couple would also visit Jaipur, Udaipur, Ranthambore and Jodhpur. The royal couple will stay in India till October 31.

This is Wangchuck`s fourth visit to India since his coronation in 2008.

The young, dynamic king is enormously popular, especially among the young, as he aspires to build a better future for Bhutan - a country of just 635,000 people sandwiched precariously between billions of Indians and Chinese.

Bhutan is perhaps best known for its philosophy of Gross National Happiness, the idea that mental and spiritual well-being matter as much as material gain that the environment, culture and quality of life also count.


First Published: Sunday, October 23, 2011 - 16:05

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