Hindus have commended Bhutan Government for supporting annual nine-day Durga Puja celebrations in capital and largest city Thimpu, currently underway till October 24.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, thanking the Bhutan Department of Cultural Affairs for reportedly providing support to the organizer Durga Puja Organizing Committee, called it a “step in the right direction”.
According to reports, a team of seven Brahmins lead by Dr. Puspala Nirola is reciting from various Hindu scriptures; including Durga Saptasati, Bhagwat Mahapuran, Vedas, etc.; during this festival.
Last October, ground-breaking ceremony was conducted for the government supported first permanent Hindu temple of Thimpu by Chief Abbot His Holiness the Je Khenpo; and was attended among others by national assembly speaker, opposition leader, cabinet ministers, national council chairperson, parliament members, business community and pundits. Construction work for this temple on 2.53-acre government land, already approved by the Cabinet, will take two years, reports suggested.
Thanking King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, Prime Minister Lyonchhen Jigmi Yoezer Thinley and Cultural Affairs Minister Minjur Dorji for patronizing the Hindu community in this Buddhist dominated country, Zed, who is the President of Universal Society of Hinduism, stressed that all religions should work together for a just and peaceful world. Dialogue would bring us mutual enrichment, Zed added.
Rajan Zed pointed out that it was important to pass on Hindu spirituality, concepts and traditions to coming generations amidst so many distractions in the consumerist society and hoped that events like Durga-Puja and the upcoming Temple would help in this direction.
Although a deeply Buddhist country with Vajrayana Buddhism as state religion, in principle there is freedom of religion in Bhutan. There are estimated 10,000 Hindus in Thimphu.
Remote, landlocked, nestling in the Himalayas and a constitutional monarchy, Kingdom of Bhutan was rated by Business Week magazine as the happiest country in Asia. In “Land of the Thunder Dragon” Bhutan, inhabited since about 2000 BCE; national dress is compulsory—gho for men and kira for women, “Gross National Happiness” is promoted, protective giant penises are painted on many houses, and buying cigarettes is illegal.