Bhutan King to tie knot,Rahul may attend

Thimphu: Bhutan`s popular King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck is set to tie the knot with India-educated commoner Jetsun Pema at a Buddhist ceremony tomorrow, a watershed event for the tiny nation which is expected to be attended by foreign dignitaries like Rahul Gandhi.

31-year Oxford-educated King will marry Pema, a pilot`s daughter who is 10-year younger than him and is currently a student of London`s Regents College, at a stunning fortress in the historic city of Punakha, 71 km from here, in line with Bhutanese Buddhist traditions. Wangchuck, the youngest reigning monarch in the world, had promised to his subjects that his wedding would be "simple and traditional" when he announced in May this year his plans to get married. Apparently, the King had met Pema first time during a family trip when he was 17 and she was 7. The King and his would-be wife will arrive at around 8 am local time tomorrow at the Punakha Dzong, a large monastic fortress built in the 17th century, for an elaborate wedding ceremony, which is expected to go on for a couple of hours.

Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi is one of the "personal guests" of the King, who shares a very good rapport with the Nehru-Gandhi family, sources told PTI. The King, an avid photographer and mountain-biker, and the future Queen will join the Bhutanese people in celebrating the event after the sacred wedding ceremony.

"The wedding ceremony will begin at 8 am when the Queen`s procession will arrive and the King will come out of his residence. Then both will go to the sacred temple," Dasho Kinley Dorji, Secretary in the Bhutanese Ministry of Information and Communication, told some 160 foreign journalists covering the event.