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Royal Couple leave for Thimphu

Punakha: After a simple yet spectacular wedding, Bhutan`s King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and Queen Jetsun Pema today began a historical journey from this ancient city to capital Thimphu as thousands of people lined up the road and gave a rousing welcome to the Royal Couple.

After spending their wedding night in this historical city, the Royal Couple emerged from their quarters at 7.30 AM and were seen off to the capital by His Majesty Je Khenpo, the chief priest of Bhutan Buddhists here. The couple got married on Thursday in a traditional Buddhist ceremony at an imposing monastic fortress in this city located between two rivers and Wangchuck crowned his childhood sweetheart Pema, who was educated in India, thus proclaiming her as the `Queen of the Kingdom of Bhutan`.

As the Royal Couple set out on road to Thimphu, 71 km from here, thousands of people lined up on either sides of the road to have a glimpse of their popular King and new Queen, whose stunning looks have made the entire nation admire her. The King, who is known for his simplistic nature and for bonding well with his subjects, got down from his car at few places, mingled freely with the people and humbly accepted the gifts which they gave to him.

Thousands of people, including women and children, queued up on the hilly terrain braving the chill and waited for the Royal Convoy to pass through. As the convoy approached, the people cheered and welcomed the couple with folded hands. As the two reciprocated the gestures, some jostled with each other to present to them the traditional white scarf, considered a mark of respect. "Thousands of people lined up during the journey to welcome the King. It is a historical occasion," Dorje Wangchuk, Director of the Royal Office of Media, told PTI.

Wangchuck and Pema, who first met when the King was 17 during a family picnic, got down at several places to accept the greetings from the people. The journey from Punakha to Thimphu, which usually consumes three hours, is expected to take more than seven hours for the Royal Couple to reach.

This is not the first time that King Wangchuck is being accorded a rousing reception by the people. A similar kind of frenzy was witnessed during his journey from the capital to Punakha after Wangchuck was coronated as the fifth king of the tiny Himalayan Kingdom in November, 2008. The Wangchuck dynasty, which has been ruling Bhutan for the past 100 years, is much revered by the people of the Kingdom.

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