With monarchy gone, Nepali crown to find new home

Mon Mar 19, 2012 10:47am EDT
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By Gopal Sharma

KATHMANDU (Reuters) - The crown worn by Nepal's kings, once considered the reincarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu, will be put up for public viewing at a palace museum, an official said on Monday, nearly four years after the abolition of the 239-year-old monarchy.

A specially elected assembly dominated by the Maoist former rebels abolished the Hindu monarchy in May 2008, turning one of the world's poorest countries into a secular republic.

The pagoda-roofed pink palace in the heart of Kathmandu was made into a museum after the last monarch King Gyanendra left, handing the ruby- and diamond-studded crown to the government.

"We are keeping the crown and the ceremonial sceptre in a safe room in the palace as there are not enough security arrangements in place at the museum right now," said Lekh Bahadur Karki, chief of the Narayanhiti palace museum.

"The government has decided to display them for public viewing. We'll prepare a bullet-proof show case for the crown which will be put up at the Surkhet Baithak," Karki told Reuters, referring to the room where former kings received their foreign guests.

Nepal's leading jewelers had been unable to put a monetary value on the crown, saying only it was "priceless", Karki said.

"Its security and safety is our prime concern. Our goal is to exhibit the crown in mid-July when the current fiscal year ends," he added.

A 1939 Mercedes Benz presented by Nazi leader Adolf Hitler to King Tribhuvan, Gyanendra's grandfather, is also to be displayed at the museum.   Continued...

Chief Royal Priest Keshriraj Pandey crowns Nepal's new king Gyanendra at the Hanuman Palace in Kathmandu June 4, 2001. PK/CP