Nepal`s deposed King Gyanendra breaks centuries-old taboo
Last Updated: Wednesday, February 10, 2010, 00:45
Kathmandu: Nepal's deposed king Gyanendra for the first time took a holy dip in the Triveni river, breaking a centuries-old taboo by taking part in a religious function as a commoner in an area forbidden for the family.

Nearly two years after he became a commoner, Gyanendra yesterday took part in the ongoing Makar Mela in Panauti area which till now was considered out of bounds for the former royal family.

Amid tight security, Gyanendra visited Panauti in Kavre district, 50 km south-east of the capital, to participate in the popular religious mela with his former subjects that takes place once every 12 years.

As per traditional belief, Panauti was a forbidden area for the Shah kings and considered to bring misfortunes for the royal family. Gyanendra's ancestor Prithvi Narayan Shah had annexed Panauti in the 18th century.

The former monarch took a holy dip in the Triveni Kunda a confluence of three rivers, visited temples of Indreshwor Mahadev, Basukinath, Brahyayani, Mukteshwor and donated NRs. 2 lakhs for charitable purpose.

Gyanendra was welcomed by traditional Panchakanya upon arrival at the temple site. He also took blessings during the 'Mahayagya' function.

His personal secretary Sagar Timilsina told reporters that his visit was personal and religions.

It was the first public appearance of the ex-monarch after returning from India last month. Gyanendra in December last year paid a month-long personal visit to India where he met his royal relatives in Rajasthan along with religious and political leaders.

Mass protests against Gyanendra that began in April 2006 finally culminated in the abolition of the monarchy soon after the CPN-Maoist emerged as the largest party in the April 2008 constitutional assembly polls.

Many ordinary Nepalese were delighted to see the back of the dour, unpopular king as well as his son Paras.

The former king vacated the royal palace in June 2008, two weeks after the 601-member Constituent Assembly's abolished the monarchy.

Gyanendra has been at the centre of many conspiracy theories, including the 2001 palace massacre that killed his popular older brother Birendra along with most of the royal family by the then crown prince Dipendra, who was allegedly fuelled by a cocktail of drugs and alcohol.


First Published: Wednesday, February 10, 2010, 00:45

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