King Gyanendra attends Temple festival in Kathmandu

Nepal`s ex-King Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah attended a centuries-old festival at Shwetkali Temple here as Chief Guest.

Updated: Mar 16, 2010, 14:49 PM IST

Kathmandu: Amid slogans in support of return
of monarchy, Nepal`s ex-King Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah attended a centuries-old festival at the Shwetkali Temple here as chief guest and performed all rituals which were earlier done by his ancestors.

Gyanendra, 62, visited the temple at 7.30 pm last night
and attended the rituals and traditional function almost two
years after monarchy was abolished in Nepal, king`s aide Sagar
Timilsina said. He also inquired about the tradition and
rituals of the temple.

After the monarchy`s abolition, President Ram Baran Yadav
as head of the nation was attending the function.

The temple, also known as Azima or Bhagawati, is visited
by devotees for fulfilling their wishes and attaining powers,
said Pradeep Kumar Bhatta, a local resident.

The organisers said they did not invite the President or
any other official this time. "We invited the former King as
per the age-old tradition," said Satyanarayan Dangol, the
secretary of the organising committee.

The festival was organised after 30 years though it
should be marked every 12 years. Dongol said the festival used
to be organised after a person, who is influenced by divine
power, performed special dance. "However, such incident never
took place in last 30 years," he said.

In 1980, then King Birendra, who was killed during the
palace massacre of 2001, had attended the festival as the
chief guest, the organisers recalled. The festival is said to
have begun in the 10th century.

As the ex-monarch walked around the temple, some pro-King
groups shouted slogans like `come back the King, save the
nation` and `The King is dearer than our life`.

Last week, Gyanendra after visiting Pashupatinath temple
had endorsed the campaign for turning the country into a Hindu