At a precise moment, chosen by court astrologers, on Monday (24 February), the world's only Hindu monarch -- King Birendra Bir Bikram Shah Deva of Nepal -- will be crowned 20th King of the Sha Dynasty and 10th Gurkha King of Nepal.
LV PAN People in main square
LV Coronation arch under construction
SV Floodlights put into position (3 shots)
SV and LV Gurkha troops and Royal carriage rehearse processional route beneath arch (3 shots)
SV Nepalese police lining route
SV Band in procession
SV Hill tribesmen with banners
SV Decorated elephants in procession
SV People in procession (2 shots)
GV Nepalese children perform calisthenics in stadium (3 shots).
EDITORS NOTE: Extensive pool coverage will be serviced in the Coronation itself.
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Background: At a precise moment, chosen by court astrologers, on Monday (24 February), the world's only Hindu monarch -- King Birendra Bir Bikram Shah Deva of Nepal -- will be crowned 20th King of the Sha Dynasty and 10th Gurkha King of Nepal.
In Katmandu, capital of Nepal, final preparations are under way for the occasion. Commemorative archways have been constructed along the route of the royal procession, and all buildings have been given a fresh coat of paint.
Dress rehearsals, involving Gurkha troops and thousands of Nepalese dignitaries and children, have been taking place along the procession route and in the large Tundihkel parade ground. More than 20 royal elephants will also take part in the coronation procession, bearing the newly-crowned King and his Queen, and other members of the royal family.
The 29-year-old King Birendra has, in fact, been king of Nepal's 12 million people since the sudden death of his father, King Mahendra, in 1972. Plans for the coronation have been delayed until now because astrologers decided that the omens for 1974 -- the year 2030 in the Nepalese calender -- were unfavourable.
Among the foreign guests at the coronation, which will begin on Sunday (23 February), will be Britain's Prince Charles, Prince Akihito and Princess Michiko of Japan, and Prince Henricks of Denmark. The Presidents of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka will also attend, along with high-ranking dignitaries from other countries with which Nepal has diplomatic relations.