National Geographic : 1957 Jul
The National Geographic Magazine Duly the priests endowed him with "the glow, the splendor, and the energy of the gods" and declared him "unrivaled in purity, greatness, and kingship." For his part, Mahendra solemnly promised "never to be arbitrary." The priests, turning to the audience, cried out: "O people! This man is your King! He is the King of us Brahmans!" Coins Shower on Cheering Throng The King, his iridescent plumes flashing pale gold in the sunlight, now rose. Tall under the massive helmet, he marched across the courtyard and down the glistening cor ridor. Outside, at the palace gate, he mounted a white stallion, to symbolize his godlike speed, then nimbly dismounted and clambered aboard a silver howdah balanced on the back of Nepal's tallest elephant (page 141). Seated beside his tranquil Queen beneath a raspberry-tinted canopy, he set off toward his own 1,000-room mansion through dense swarms of uproarious subjects. Army com mander in chief Kiran, riding tandem with the King and Queen, showered handfuls of silver coins on the spectators from a basket between his feet, provoking good-natured stampedes among the crowded subjects below. Behind the royal beast guests hurried atop another 26 waiting elephants and joined the glittering procession. They made a brave show. The elephants, freshly painted, wore elaborate trappings strung with scores of merry bells. The generals and princes swayed upon them, looking a trifle seasick. A King had been crowned. But more than a king, perhaps; more, even, than an absolute monarch, rare as these are in a democratic era. We had witnessed the age old rituals attending the incarnation of a god, the life-preserving Vishnu, absolute sov ereign of eight and a half million Nepalese. Lowell Thomas, Sr., Holds a King's Ransom in Billowing Bird of Paradise Plumes The 97 skins were taken from vaults of the American Museum of Natural History, where they had been stored for 32 years, and arranged in dazzling standards for presentation to the King (page 146). His crown alone uses plumes from half a dozen birds. Mr. Thomas was one of three U. S. envoys at the coronation. Cinerama, Inc.