Their Royal Highnesses The Crown Prince and Crown Princess and their children have been travelling since the end of November.
In the state of Sikkim in northeastern India they were joined by a crew from the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) and sent a Christmas greeting of video and photographs back home to Norway.
Their travels began in Istanbul where they visited Hagia Sophia – once the worlds largest cathedral before being converted to a mosque following the Turkish takeover of Constantinople. Today Hagia Sophia is a museum.
The Crown Prince and his family also made a stop in Amman, Jordan, before continuing eastward to India where they have visited locations such as the city of Jodhpur in the state of Rajasthan and the region of Dzongu in the state of Sikkim.
The region of Dzongu
The region of Dzongu is a long valley at the foot of the Himalayas which borders on Tibet in the north, Nepal in the west and Bhutan in the east. Dzongu is an official reserve for the regions indigenous population known as the Lepcha. Only the Lepcha people are permitted to own land here.
The population of Dzongu is approximately 7,000. The region has a non-monetary economy and the people live mostly from subsistence agriculture. In recent years, however, electricity and telephones have been introduced to the region.
Special permission is required to visit to Dzongu, which was opened up to tourists only a few years ago. The region has no hotels, but some families offer homestays in which travellers may live together with them in their homes.
At the homestay
The Crown Prince and his family were hosted by Gyatso Tongden Lepcha and his family at the Mayal Lyang Homestay in the village of Passingdang where they ate traditional food and lived in the same manner as the Lepcha people.
Congratulations are presented today from His Majesty King Harald to His Excellency Mr Egils Levits, President of the Republic of Latvia.
World Heritage at Vega
In 2004, UNESCO inscribed the Vega Archipelago on the World Heritage List. Today His Royal Highness The Crown Prince was in attendance to open the new Vega Archipelago World Heritage Centre – Norway’s first authorised centre of its kind.