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Bhutan King takes jeep safari at Kaziranga National Park

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GUWAHATI, Nov 4:  Bhutan King Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuk on Saturday took the evening jeep safari at the central range of the Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve on the second day of his three-day maiden visit to Assam.

The King and his entourage boarded the jeep in the central Kohora range at the Mihimukh Gate, a Kaziranga National Park official told PTI.

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Assam Ministers Chandramohan Patowary, Ranoj Pegu, Atul Bora and senior officials of both the Bhutan and Assam governments accompanied the monarch in separate vehicles.

The royal entourage stopped at Kathpora Watchtower and Daflang Tower before returning to Mihimuk.

The King, wearing the traditional Bhutanese attire ‘gho’ and a khaki-coloured hat, was seen taking photographs with his mobile phone and also trying to spot the animals with binoculars.

The King also witnessed bathing of elephants in Kohora river at a riding point while the mahouts sang songs in the background.

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He also witnessed the sunset from there with forest department elephants in the foreground and Karbi-Anglong hills in the background.

The monarch and officials from Bhutan were presented with gifts, comprising local products that included Muga-silk gamocha (traditional towel which is a symbol of Assam), a coffee table book on Kaziranga, a painting of the park, a hand-crafted wooden one-horned rhino and organic Assam tea, the official said.

The King was also photographed in front of three rhino statues, including a calf, made out of the ash of rhino horns which were consigned to flames in September 2021 to demonstrate that rhino horns have no medicinal value and send out a strong message to those involved in illegal wildlife trade.

The king also attended a cultural programme and a dinner hosted by chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma at the convention centre in Kaziranga.

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Sarma later said on X: “I am glad to learn that His Majesty the King of Bhutan enjoyed the rich biodiversity of Assam’s Kaziranga National Park. We are eager to host His Majesty along with his family who will definitely be mesmerised by the beauty of Kaziranga!”

The King arrived by a Drukair flight at Jorhat airport from Guwahati where he was received by Finance Minister Ajanta Neog, Education Minister Ranoj Pegu, Jorhat MLA Hitendra Nath Goswami and senior state government and district officials.

He reached Kaziranga by road, a distance of about 89 km.

Before he departed from the hotel where he stayed on Friday, Assam education minister Ranoj Pegu, and faculties of various institutes of higher education called on him.

Pegu said that the King remarked that he has come to India not only to have a relationship with the government but also with the higher education institutions.

‘We look forward to a new era of Indo-Bhutan relations and to host students from Bhutan in Assam’, the minister said.

The 43-year-old monarch had arrived here on Friday and on the first day of his visit; he had prayed at the Kamakhya temple, interacted with the Bhutan diaspora, had a meeting with the chief minister and attended a cultural programme followed by a dinner hosted by Governor Gulab Chand Kataria.

The King will leave for Delhi on Sunday from Jorhat airport. He is on an eight-day visit to India. (PTI)

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