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Thursday, 11 April 2013

94) A Fairy Tale Royal wedding at Bhutan on 13.10.2011: King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck with Queen Jetsun Pema Commemorative Nu.500 silver coins and Nu.100 Notes issued for the occasion:

94) A Fairy Tale Royal wedding at Bhutan on 13.10.2011: King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck with Queen Jetsun Pema

Commemorative Nu.500 silver coins and Nu.100 Notes issued for the occasion:

The Royal Wedding of King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck with Queen Jetsun Pema on 13.10.2011:

The much publicised wedding in which King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, aged 31 years wed his childhood sweetheart Jetsun Pema 21 years  amidst the chanting of hymns by 100 Buddhist monks led by His Holiness Je Khenpo, the head monastic preceptor, at “Puna Dewachen Phodrang” , in the historical/ancient city of Punakha. 
The elaborate ceremony, which was conducted according to Bhutanese Buddhist traditions, began with the initiation of prayers at the “Marchen Lhakhang” and “Kuenra” (which houses the tutelary deity) of the “Punakha Dzong” (Fortress). The King escorted by the sacred retinue arrived at the Dzong from the Royal Lingkha and lit a lamp and offered prayers before the “Thongdroel of Zhabdrung” in the courtyard of the Dzong.

The Royal bride was led in a “chhipdrel” procession (a procession reserved for Kings and Queens of Bhutan) into the Dzong, where she lit a golden lamp before the Thongdroel and exchanged the Tashi-Jel-Dhar with the King.

The "Raven Crown" (the King's Crown) and the crown for the Queen were brought out from the “Marchen Lhakhang” (the innermost sanctum of the temple  houses the Marchen Lhakhang containing the embalmed body of the Shabdrung, the first secular leader of Bhutan) along with a “Golden Bumpa” and the sacred five coloured “Dhar”.

The Fourth “Druk Gyalpo” (or the fourth “Dragon King”, the Father of King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck) bestowed the sacred “Dhar” upon the Royal Bride, sanctifying the Royal Wedding.

In the Kuenrey, the Bride offered the ambrosia of eternal life, signifying her devotion to the glorious continuity of the Wangchuck Dynasty, from the “Golden Bumpa” to the King.

The ceremony at the Kuenrey (altar of the Keunra) ended with the offering of “Tashi Nga Soel” (symbolic offerings to the Royal couple). The Fourth Druk Gyalpo, Father of the reigning King and members of the Royal Family and Guests, then, offered “Yashi Khadar” to the newly married couple.

The Royal couple then joined the people of Punakha and guests outside the Dzong in a public celebration. The King granted “Tokha” to the people gathered at the celebration ground.

 Jetsun Pema was also crowned Queen of the Kingdom by the King.

Thousands of Bhutanese citizens including women and children thronged the ground near this 17th century fortress about 71 km, away from Thimpu the National Capital from all over Bhutan or watched the ceremony being telecast live by Bhutan Broadcasting Service TV. 
Several International guests also came to witness the ceremony.

Bank notes and coins issued to commemorate the Royal Wedding of the King and Queen of Bhutan :

The Royal Monetary Authority of Bhutan (RMA) has got a one-time edition of Commemorative Banknotes of Nu.100 denomination printed (numbering 2 million copies) printed at London, U.K. and silver coins of Nu.500 denomination (numbering 20000) minted at the Singapore Mint,  to commemorate the Royal wedding. Both the Notes and coins have images of the Royal couple inscribed/engraved on them (Nu. Denoting “Ngultrum” the official currency of Bhutan). The price of the Note was fixed at Nu.500 and the silver coin was priced at Nu.5000.

In addition two specially minted one kilogram coins were made for the newly wed Royal Couple by the Singapore Mint.

The Commemorative Nu. 500 coin:

The Singapore Mint was chosen to be a part of Asia’s very own Royal wedding, as the official mint, for the 2011 Bhutan Royal Wedding Commemorative coins. The Royal Monetary Authority of Bhutan appointed the Singapore Mint for the purpose, recognising the Mint’s high quality of workmanship, for the Royal marriage. The Mint produced 20000 coins to mark the momentous occasion. 
The Commemorative coin was sold out on the first day of its release.

 The Commemorative coins come packed in a beautiful box gift-wrapped for the occasion. To each one who possesses these coins, it is a memorable keepsake.

On the obverse, the coins bear a coloured portrait of the Royal couple. Also mentioned on the periphery of this face of the coin is “Commemorating the Royal Wedding” on top and the denomination of the Commemorative coin “Nu.500” and “October 2011”, the month of the wedding.

On the reverse, the coins bear the logo of the Royal Wedding. The logo significant symbolic representations, such as the symbolic Khorlo (Wheel), 2 circles with the Dhar (Ceremonial Scarf). All together, the emblems epitomise a Royal marriage, eternal union, wisdom and purity. Also mentioned on this face of the coin on the periphery is “1 oz 999 fine silver” on top and “Royal Wedding 2011 Kingdom of Bhutan” on the bottom.

Specifications of the coin:

Denomination: 500 Ngultrum (Nu. 500)

Composition: 999 fine silver

Finish: Proof

Weight 31.103 gms.

Diameter: 40.70 mm

Mintage: 20000 pieces

Date/Year of issue: 01.11.2011

The Commemorative Nu.100 Note:

The Notes were designed under strict security with a view to prevent counterfeiting, with unique embossed prints and patterns and exhibit orange, brown and red colours.

The Front of the Commemorative Nu.100 Note Album.
 The Back of the Commemorative Note Album.


The Front of the Note bears the portrait of the Royal couple with rays of light emanating from behind – marking the beginning of a new era in Monarchy. The Royal Wedding logo, placed in the centre of the Note embodies the symbolic “Khorlo” (Wheel), signifying Royalty. The logo has two Circles with the “Dhar” (Ceremonial scarf) signifying the eternal Union of “Thap” (Method) and “Sherab” (Wisdom) and the “Dham Tshig Tsangma” and a Lotus symbolising the purity of the Union. On the bottom is the legend “The Royal Wedding”. The Serial number of the Note is “RW0058518” ("RW" standing for “Royal Wedding” and indicating that this is the 58518th commemorative Note, out of two million notes printed for the occasion).

This face of the Note also has the National Emblem as well as a Mythical Angel carrying the Raven Crown to symbolize the blessings showered on the Royal Union and prayers for prosperity of the Wangchuck Dynasty.

The Back of the Note features an image of the “Punakha Dzong” (Fortress), a symbol of the traditional Institution of the Monarchy as well as two dragons on the top left and right hand sides of the Note signifying protection over the Kingdom and Monarchy from divine forces and symbolic of Bhutan’s name – “Land of the Thunder Dragon”. The Punakha Dzong is also known as the “Pungtang Dechen Photrang Dzong” (meaning “the Palace of great happiness or bliss”). Unlike the usual Tashichhodzong print on the circulating Nu.100 Note, the commemorative note has the image of Punakha Dzong to signify/portray the institution of the monarchy as well as the wedding venue.

The Note has a solid security thread with demetalized “THE ROYAL WEDDING 2011” mentioned on it, clearly seen against a light source. The water-mark is unknown. The size of the Note is 145x70 mm.

Distribution Points:

The Notes and coins were made available at the Bank of Bhutan, Bhutan Development Bank Limited and at Paro Airport through the Bank of Bhutan outlet from 13.10.2011 onwards till 04.11.2011 initially. Based on the popularity of these issues, the sale has since been continued.

The coins were minted at the Singapore Mint and the Notes were printed in London, U.K.

Some interesting facts about the Royal couple:

The King:

He was born on 21.02.1980. He completed his formal schooling in Bhutan followed by his higher education in Phillips Academy (Andover) in the USA, the Magdalen College at Oxford University and the National Defence College in India. He has a reputation for hard work and informality – he cycles around the capital Thimpu and is Oxford educated. He is known as the “Druk Gyalpo” or “Dragon King”, and is the wearer of the Raven Crown, or more commonly as “K5”. He is the fifth King who has ruled the country since the hereditary monarchy was established in 1907.

He came to the Bhutanese throne in on 14.12.2006, after his father abdicated to allow the transition to democracy. While his father began to modernise the country and introduced the concept of “Gross National Happiness”, Bhutan essentially still remains attached to its ancient culture and traditions despite the advent of modern day technological advances. The King’s personal dedication and commitment towards improving the quality of lives of the Bhutanese people has endeared him to the Bhutanese people who call him the “People’s King”.

The Queen:

She was born in Thimpu, Bhutan on 04.06.1990 and is a commoner and daughter of an Airlines pilot. She has been educated in Bhutan, India and the U.K. She has interests in fine Arts, painting, photography and sports. She is well versed in Dzongkha, the National language of Bhutan, English and Hindi. Her father is the grandson of Trashigang Dzongpon (former Governor of Trashigang) and her mother is the god-daughter of Prince Namgyel Wangchuck.

Bhutan is a devoutly Buddhist kingdom of about 700000 citizens who love their King and Queen.

Note on the “Tashi Tagye”: the eight auspicious symbols:

The set of eight auspicious symbols is very popular and is found everywhere – in dzongs (fortresses), monasteries, and temples and in every day life. In Sanskrit it is known as the “Ashtamangala” (meaning eight auspicious signs). Each one carries a special meaning.

They are:

“Bumpa” (treasure vase) symbolises inexhaustible riches available in Buddhist teachings as well as long life, wealth, prosperity and comforts of the material World.

“Lotus” (padma) symbolises complete purification of body, speech and mind and the blossoming of wholesome deeds. An open blossom signifies full enlightenment while a closed blossom signifies the potential for enlightenment.

“Khorlo” (Dharma chakra) represents Buddhist teachings.

“Dungkar” (conch shell) is used as a horn and symbolises the deep, far reaching and melodious sound of universal teachings, awakening the disciples from ignorance to knowledge and to work towards the common welfare of all human beings. The conch is mostly blown in commemoration of an event or the beginning of a religious discourse.  

“Dug” (parasol) which embodies notions of wealth or royalty. It also symbolises the wholesome activities to keep human beings from harm.

“Sernya” (a pair of golden fishes) originally symbolic of the rivers Ganges and Yamuna, but generally represent good fortune for Buddhists, Hindus and Jains.

 “Palbheu” (endless knot) is a geometric design symbolising the nature of reality where everything is inter-related and only exists as part of a web of karma and its effect. It also represents the illusory character of time and long life.

“Gyaltsen” (victory banner) symbolises the victory of Buddha’s teachings over death, ignorance, disharmony and over all the negativity of this World.

(The above Nu.500 Commemorative coin is from the collection of Jayant Biswas. The Nu.100 Commemorative Note has been brought for my collection by Jayant, during his recent visit to Bhutan).


  1. The Singapore Mint was chosen to be a part of Asia’s very own Royal wedding, as the official mint, for the 2011 Bhutan Royal Wedding Commemorative coins.

    wedding anniversary coins

  2. Hello, Robert,
    It is a fact. Visited your website. Very interesting coins you have there.