Following ancient tradition, the astrologers of Nepal have named the date for the coronation of King Birendra of Nepal.
Following ancient tradition, the astrologers of Nepal have named the date for the coronation of King Birendra of Nepal. The 29 year old ruler will be crowned on Monday (24 February) in a ceremony watched by representatives of 60 countries including three heads of state and six princes.
For nearly a week the King has been carrying out rituals leading up to the coronation, including prayers to appease the gods.
King Birendra Bir Bikram Shah Deb will be the 10th Gurkha King of Nepal. He is the world's only Hindu monarch and at 29, one of its youngest sovereigns. He actually ascended to the throne on January 31, 1972 after his father King Mahendra died.
The coronation will be the most spectacular occasion ever in Nepal.
Katmandu, the capital of the Himalayan Kingdom of 12 million people, has been given a complete facelift for the coronation. Streets have been refaced and swept and buildings repainted.
Security is strict around the city and its been reported that more than 100 suspected trouble makers have been rounded up in the past few weeks. Early last year a grenade exploded in an area the King was visiting. Two people were killed in the blast.
King Birendra has promised to modernise the Kingdom and attempt to keep on the path of neutrality between its two massive neighbours, China and India. Relations with India have been strained for some time since the Indian Government moved to incorporate the third mountain kingdom, Sikkim, into its political system.
The guest list is a mixture ranging from Prince Charles of Britain and Crown Prince Akihito of Japan to Doctor Christian Barnard, the South African heart surgeon and Mrs Christina Ford, wife of the American car magnate, Henry Ford.