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Bhutan royal on pilgrimage

- Octogenarian grandmother of king to visit different holy places in state

The royal grandmother from Bhutan, Ashi Kesang Choden Wangchuk, visited Bodhgaya on Monday evening. During her weeklong stay in Bihar, she would visit different places of Buddhist pilgrimage and tourism related, including Nalanda and Rajgir.

Wangchuk (83) is the grandmother of Bhutan’s present king Druk Gyalpo Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuk.

The royal grandmother, accompanied by 23 others, including some family members, arrived in Bodhgaya from Calcutta by a special aircraft. After taking a two-hour rest at a hotel in Bodhgaya, she visited the World Heritage Mahabodhi Mahavihara and offered prayers before the statue of Lord Buddha in the sanctum sanctorum and also under the holy Bodhi tree.

After the royal came out of the Mahavihara, Bodhgaya Temple Management Committee (BTMC) member Radhakant Mishra presented a khada (the holy silicon piece of cloth) to her. “It is a great joy and blessing to be here in holy Bodhgaya and to receive the great blessing of the Lord Buddha. May the Buddha dharma flourish in the world and bring peace and happiness to all beings,” she wrote in the visitors’ register at the reception of the Mahavihara.

“It is a personal pilgrimage tour. I feel very happy to be here in Bodhgaya,” said the royal grandmother at the reception of the Mahavihara.

She would stay in Bodhgaya till December 12. Next day, she would go to Rajgir and see the Buddhist pilgrimage places. She would visit Nalanda on December 14 and return to Bodhgaya the next day and head for Varanasi on December 15 by a special aircraft.

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