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National Memorial Bhutan

National Memorial Bhutan

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Built-in the memory of Bhutan's beloved king Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, the National Memorial Chorten is easily Thimphu's most popular Buddhist site.

It is equally popular with tourists and locals, however, tourists are advised to refrain from visiting at night to provide the locals with some refrain. This is also an incredible location if you want to observe locals in their everyday activities, chat up with people, make some friends and soak in the serenity that comes with Buddhist places of worship.

The Chorten is whitewashed with a fine golden finial sparkling bright in the sun. Like most traditional Bhutanese architecture it features elaborately carved statues of mandalas on its roof and walls. It's richly painted annexes face in all the four directions. Within it's the inner sanctum lies a shrine dedicated to the ever popular king. The teachings if Vajrakilya is enshrined on the ground floor. There are two more floors each of which holds an immense centrally placed wooden carving. Behind these shrines, the walls depict a horde of wrathful looking deities. The second floor is dedicated to teachings of the Drukpa Lineage of the Kagyud school to subdue eight varieties of evil spirits and the top floor is dedicated to the teachings of Lama Gongdu. Combined, these three floors form the esoteric teachings of the Nyingmapa sect.

Above the top floor, there is a gallery, which can be walked around the circumference of the chorten and which offers spectacular views of the city.

The origin story of the Chorten says that the king wanted to build "a chorten to represent the mind of the Buddha" and later after his death, the late majesty wish was fulfilled by her Queen mother Ashi Phuentsho Choden Wangchuk. A number of important Bhutanese festivals are held here. This includes the Moenlam Prayer Festival. This is when the religious head of Bhutan provides his blessings to all those assembled for the congregation. So make sure when you are in Thimphu you don't miss out on visiting this incredible memorial.

Chorten Lam

Hours:9am-5pm Mar-Oct,

to 4pm Nov-Feb.

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