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.

PTI




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