Thousands of Bhutanese citizens came together to plant 108,000 trees to welcome the newborn prince. Each tree sealed with a prayer for the newborn son of King Khesar and Queen Pema. On March 6, a month after the couple announced the birth of their first child, these trees were planted. Since 108 is considered a sacred number in Buddhism that denotes the cleansing of 108 defilements that impede beings from attaining enlightenment. Out of the total number of these trees,82,000 were planted by households, while the remaining 26,000 were planted by volunteers in special plantations in 14 districts.
Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay, three of his ministers, and the leader of Opposition were among the 100,000 volunteers who planted the trees across the country. “In Buddhism, a tree is the provider and nourisher of all life forms, symbolizing longevity, health, beauty and even compassion,” said Tenzin Lekphell, who coordinated the initiative, called Tendrel in the local language. It wasn’t a coincidence that the Buddha attained enlightenment under a banyan tree, he said.
Bhutan is famous worldwide for its pro-earth activities and is also the country which is known as the happiest of all in the world. Not only this, the Ministry of Tourism of Bhutan established a 48,400-square-yard ‘Happiness Garden’ in Thimphu to invite foreign tourists to plant happiness trees with the objective of having trees representing every country in the world.
Here are some interesting facts about Bhutan:
- Bhutan, a democratic monarchy, has a unique policy of ‘Gross National Happiness,’ which balances economic growth with environmental conservation and the wellbeing of its people. And it measures its growth in terms of how happy its people are.
- Bhutan’s constitution states that the country shall always keep 60 percent of its total area under forest cover.
- The term ‘Gross National Happiness’ was coined by the fourth King Singye, the incumbent king’s father, in 1972, when he was just 16.
- Last year in June, a team of 100 volunteers in Bhutan set a new Guinness record by planting 49,672 trees in just one hour in mountainous terrain.