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Bhutanese prince, family here

His Holiness Vairotsana Truklu Jigme Jigten Wangchuck of Bhutan accompanied by his mother Her Royal Highness Ashi Sonam Dechan Wangchuck visited the Gangaramaya Temple yesterday to pay their respects to the Sacred Bodhi tree. Picture shows the Chief Incumbent of Hunupitiya Gangaramaya Ven Galaboda Gnanissara Thera escorting His Holiness Vairotsana Truklu Jigme Jigten Wangchuck to the temple. Picture by Rukmal Gamage

His Holiness Vairotsana Truklu Jigme Jigten Wangchuck accompanied by his mother Her Royal Highness Ashi Sonam Dechan Wangchuck and his grandmother Her Majesty the Queen Mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck of Bhutan visited the Gangaramaya Temple yesterday to pay their respects to the Sacred Bodhi tree.

The foundation stone for the retaining wall built of the tree was laid by His Holiness’s grandfather, the Fourth King of Bhutan, His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck in 1976.

The four year old Vairotsana Tulku, is believed to be the reincarnation of the Lotsawa; translator Vairotsana of Tibet, one of the 25 main disciples of Guru Rinpoche.

“I am very moved today and very grateful to you for having blessed my family and the people of Bhutan”, said the Queen Mother who participated in a ceremony to invoke blessings at the Temple. This was the family’s first visit to the Temple, said the Queen Mother addressing the gathering at the religious ceremony.

“When His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck came here in 1976 and inaugurated the foundation stone for this very sacred Bodhi tree here it was a significant event which bound Bhutan and Sri Lanka in one common goal of spirituality”, she continued.

Gangaramaya Temple, Chief Incumbent Ven. Galboda Gnanissara Thera who also spoke at the ceremony explained how the decision to build a retaining wall and revive the tree was made at a time when the Bodhi tree was almost dying,

“This sacred tree was in a dilapidated state, its roots were rotting and many experts said the tree could not be saved. After the King of Bhutan laid the foundation stone, we expanded the retaining wall, a merchant and a local benefactor call Andrisappu came forward to help.

Thereafter we brought rich soil from Anuradhapura and Kataragama to tend to the tree and the tree once again bloomed”, said Ven Gnanissara Thera.

The Bhutanese Royal family visited the Temple having come to the country on a personal visit.