Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Sikkim pays tribute to former Chogyal on 99th birth anniv

Many denizens of this picturesque town nestled in the eastern Himalayas gathered along with the state’s governor Ganga Prasad and former Prince Palden Namgyal to pay tribute to the Last Chogyal of Sikkim, Palden Thondup Namgyal on his 99th birth anniversary at the Memorial Park at Namgyal Institute of Tibetology, Deorali this morning.
Soldep, a tradational monastic ritual was performed by monks from Pemayangtse monastery in West Sikkim while the Governor released a Centennial Badge.
The Namgyal Institute of Tibetology is observing the centennial year of the Chogyal’s birthday with a wide variety of programmes to be held during the different seasons for a whole year, till the 22nd of May 2023. The late Palden Thondup Namgyal who ascended to the throne of Sikkim in 1965 after the death of his father Sir Tashi Namgyal, had ruled over the tiny Himalayan principality, till a referendum abolished hereditary rule and made Sikkim a part of India in 1975.
An alumni of St Joseph’s, Kalimpong and Bishop Cotton School, Simla, Thondup Namgyal had helped his father negotiate a treaty with India in 1949 which made the Buddhist principality a protectorate of the South Asian giant, just ahead of the Chinese invasion of neighbouring Tibet.
He was crown prince when India and China clashed over a disputed border in 1962 and Chogyal or ruler when the two giants faced off at Nathu La pass in Sikkim. Indian troops based in his principality with support from Sikkim repulsed the Chinese attack and gained what military observers describe as “decisive tactital advantage” by gaining the high ground. Thondup Namgyal had married Hope Cook, an America socialite in 1963, soon after the Indo-China clash after a whirlwind romance. Hi first wife, a Tibetan noblewoman Samyo Kushoe Sangideki had died six year before his second marriage. Cooke divorced Namgyal in 1980, five years after his deposition as ruler. The former Chogyal died two years later in 1982 at a New York hospital battling cancer.

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