Keeping track of the former king
Almost two years after he was stripped of his crown and became a commoner, Nepal’s deposed king Gyanendra himself has broken a centuries-old taboo by attending a religious fair in a town till now considered out of bounds for the royal family. Escorted by bodyguards and aides, the 62-year-old ousted king drove himself yesterday (Monday) to Panauti, a town 35 km southeast of Kathmandu, to attend the Makar Mela, a Hindu fair held every 12 years. In the past, legend had it that Panauti was a forbidden area for the Shah kings of Nepal since it was the domain of Hindu god Narayan and the kings of Nepal were considered incarnations of the same god. Since Gyanendra’s ancestor Prithvi Narayan Shah annexed Panauti in the 18th century, the legend sprang up and flourished, keeping the royal family away from the town.
An aide to the former king, Sagar Timalsina, told Kantipur daily that Gyanendra Shah visited the fair as a common citizen attending a religious event and not as a king. The former king, unaccompanied by his wife, who looked in a cheerful mood offered support worth Rs 1 Lakh (one hundred thousands) each to the construction of Old Age home and establishment of an educational institution in the area.. With the Panauti taboo broken, it remains to be seen if Gyanendra will now take on the remaining one, observed a Kathmandu-based reporter of an Indian news agency who made several errors while translating the original news report in Kantipur daily. North of Kathmandu lies a colossal statue of Vishnu, another incarnation of Narayan, lying in a bed of serpents on a pool. The Budanilkantha temple is the only one in Nepal that was forbidden to the royal family of Nepal after a legend arose that the king would die if he ever gazed on the 15 feet high statue. Continue reading Ex-King Gyanendra Does in Nepal What His Ancestors Never Did