The history of Bhutan | The monarchy | Ugyen Wangchuck | The coronation

The coronation

In 1905 Chogley Yeshey Ngodrup, the last of Bhutan's secular rulers, retreated to Paro. He was the fifth rebirth of the aspect of speech of the Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel.



Despite the fact that Ugyen Wangchuck had already, for a long time, been the strong man who guided Bhutan's destiny, Chogley Yeshey Ngodrup's resignation left the throne of the nominal ruler vacant. Therefore, one of Ugyen Wangchuck's very close friends, Kazi Ugyen Dorje, drew up a petition to the state council asking to consider the coronation of Ugyen Wangchuck to Bhutan's king. This would give him the best position to protect the interests of the religion and the state. Seeing that, apart from the monks, the members of the state council had been appointed by Ugyen Wangchuck himself, it did not come as a surprise that the council agreed and elected Ugyen Wangchuck as first king of a hereditary monarchy.


Even though this brought the end to the Shabdrung's system of dual government, the founder of the state still retained his spiritual and cultural relevance. He was to provide the ultimate legitimation to the monarchy and each king.

On the 17th of December, 1907, the founding charter of the monarchy was signed in the Punakha Dzong by all the important personalities of the country; with the Shabdrung's seal its effectiveness became unquestionable.

The history of Bhutan
.  Bhutan before ..
.  Shabdrung Ngawang ..
.  The monarchy
.  .  Jigme Namgyel
.  .  Ugyen Wangchuck
.  .  .  The coronation
.  .  .  .  The founding charter
.  .  .  Ugyen Wangchucks ..
.  .  Jigme Wangchuck
.  .  Jigme Dorje Wangchuck
.  .  Jigme Singye Wangchuck
Bhutans religion
Gods and Sacred ..

Top |  Home |  Sitemap |  Search |  Glossary |  The Objects |  Tour |  Help

Chogley Yeshey Ngodrup (1851-1917) was the fifth rebirth of the aspect of speech of the Shabdrung. He was the 57th and last secular ruler before the introduction of the monarchy. From 1915 until his death in 1917, he was also in office as Bhutan's 53rd head abbot.
Photo by J. C. White, 1905; loan from a private collection

Container for betel (bata), silver with fire-gilding, coral; H: 9 cm, diameter: 20 cm; loan from a private collection
A container of this quality and size would have been used by the nobility and high clergy. Chewing betel is wide spread in all social strata, by men and women, who are very fond of the stimulating effect of the betel nut.

During the coronation ceremony in 1907, Ugyen Wangchuck is sitting next to the head abbot, Je Khenpo. While older pictures show Je Khenpo's throne as higher than Ugyen Wangchuck's, both are of equal height here. The table of the newly crowned monarch with the sacrificial scarf, however, is a bit higher. Excerpt from a photo by H. Hyslop; loan from a private collection