Monday, January 24, 2011

Coronations And Things In The Dragon Kingdom

Decided to post this one again cos I can now do extra large images - and these photographs really deserve the best format.

Over the past five years, I've rather self-indulgently done more than a ton of posts on places I've been.

And I've particularly enjoyed putting together my journeyings to remote and/or perhaps, for me, exotic places - like Mongolia, Laos, Egypt, India, Varanassi and Nepal and The Philippines.

As you do, I was roaming round in cyber space this morning and happened on images of the 2008 coronation of King Jigme Khesar Namgyl Wangchuck ...

... in Himalayan-bordering Bhutan ...

... and it occurred to me to post on somewhere I haven't been but would love to visit.

The kingdom came into being in the C17 from a number of warring states, under the leadership of Tibetan lama and military leader, Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. The lama had fled from religious persecution in Tibet and constructed a Bhutanese identity. In a way, a bit like Italy's Risorgimento (Unification) of 1861.

An absolute monarchy, the country had its first democratic elections in 2008 and has joined the UN ...

The climate ranges from subtropical in the south to sub-alpine in the north ...

... already I more than suspect that this post is going to be a tad too 'National Geographic-ish'!

But in my defence, I would dare anyone to make the following set of coronation images look other than they came from that magazine ...

Ladies of Bhutanese royal family before the coronation

Some of the international visitors

And then challenge anyone to cast the next shots in a less than Shangri La-ish manner ...
Takeshang Gompa, Tiger's Nest Monastery

Haa Valley

Tashichoedzong, Thimphu, seat of the Bhutanese government from 1952

Gangkhar Puensum from Ura La, Bhutan

To this absolute riot of pageantry and colour and to this grand panorama of pristine natural beauty, throw in the snow leopard or two ...

... and maybe National Geographic got it right all along!!!

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