Bhutan: 108,000 Trees Planted To Honor Newborn Prince ‘Gyalsey’

The Haa Valley in Western Bhutan.

Bhutan people came together to honour the country’s newborn prince by planting 108,000 trees and offering a prayer for the only heir to the throne. The gathering was led by Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay, with his three ministers as well as the Opposition leader including 100,000 volunteers for the tree planting project throughout the country on March 6, a month following the birth of the first child of King Khesar and Queen Jetsun on February 5.

According to the coordinator of Tendrel, Tenzin Lekphell, a tree is regarded as the nourisher and provider of every life form in Buddhism, which symbolizes health, compassion, longevity and beauty. Around 108,000 total number of trees were planted, or “108”, a sacred number in Buddhism, which denotes the purifying of 108 defilements that hinder beings from receiving enlightenment, The Logical Indian reported.

Bhutan is a democratic monarchy, with a distinct policy of Gross National Happiness that balances the environmental conservation with economic progress and the people’s wellbeing. The country’s constitution states that 60% of its total area should be under the forest cover.

The “Gross National Happiness” term was invented by the reigning king’s father and the fourth King Singye in 1972. A couple of years after King Singye stepped down from the throne in favor of Khesar, the prince’s father, who later introduced democracy without the approval of the people.

As the citizens gathered together to plant trees on March 6, the Ministry of Tourism also inaugurated a “Happiness Garden” found in Thimphu’s national capital, where a 48.400 square yard garden welcomes visiting tourists to plant the happiness trees, to represent each country in the world.

Bhutan’s Tourism Council spokesperson Dachoe Rinzin said that it is logical to have happiness garden, where they hope to the people in the world closer. In June 2016, there were 100 volunteers from Bhutan made a Guinness world record by planting 49,672 trees within one hour in a mountainous terrain,  KYA Boss reported.

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