THIMPHU, Bhutan - The royal dress weavers are at work and excitement is building in Bhutan ahead of next month's royal wedding that will see the young king of the Himalayan nation wed in a fairy-tale ceremony.
The Oxford-educated mountain-biking fanatic Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, 31, who was crowned in 2008 at the start of democracy in the Buddhist-majority country, is set to marry student Jetsun Pema, a commoner, on October 13.
Organisers have promised a low-key affair from a royal family that is famed for its common touch, but the Bhutanese are gearing up to mark a momentous occasion in the life of the reclusive kingdom between China and India.
In their apartment in the capital Thimphu, weavers Kelzang Choden and her mother are hurriedly working on an outfit for the future queen, an intricately patterned dress of geometric shapes dominated by gold thread and yellow.
"She will wear according to her element. There are five elements in our culture. For example, red is fire and earth is yellow," Choden explained to AFP. "Her element is earth so it will probably be mostly yellow."
Pema, 21, has ordered numerous "kiras," the elegant national dress for women made from raw silk that takes months to finish and can cost up to 3,000 dollars.
Several famed weavers are competing for the honour of clothing her on the big day.
"It would be the biggest privilege," said Choden, whose mother Kuenzang Wangmo has designed outfits for the previous king and his four wives, as well as the younger sister of the present king.
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