National Memorial Chorten – A magnificent peaceful structure

Memorial Chorten is one of Thimphu’s most recognizable landmarks and is located in the city’s center. Throughout the day, visitors will see old Bhutanese folks circumambulating the Chorten. Chorten literally means “Seat of Faith,” and Buddhists typically refer to such structures as the “Mind of Buddha.” With its beautiful murals and detailed sculptures, the Chorten is an outstanding example of Buddhist architecture and artwork.

national memorial chorten in Bhutan
National Memorial Chorten entrance

Who built Thimphu chorten?

The chorten’s construction has been created to show it as “one of Thimphu’s most conspicuous religious buildings.” The Memorial Chorten, located in the center of the city, is a Tibetan-style chorten, also known as the Jangchup Chorten, modeled like a classical stupa, with a pyramidal pillar capped by a crescent moon and sun.  It was erected in 1974 in memory of Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, 3rd Druk Gyalpo.

The distinctive characteristic here is the outward flaring of the rounded section to provide the appearance of a vase (a pyramidal shape), as opposed to a dome shape. The chorten portrays a great number of larger-than-life representations of wrathful deities with their feminine consorts.

National Memorial Chorten

Memorial Chorten Architecture

The chorten is a big white tower crowned by a golden spire and a smaller golden spire over the front porch. It is accessed by a tiny garden and a gate with three slate carvings. The three guardian bodhisattvas – Avalokitesvara (the symbol of compassion), Majur (the symbol of wisdom), and Vajrapi (the sign of strength – are depicted on the gate’s exterior. Slates depicting images of Ngawang Namgyal, Gautama Buddha, and Padmasambhava are carved on the inside.

National Memorial Chorten - big red prayer wheels

To the left are large prayer wheels. On a daily basis, many elderly Bhutanese visit the chorten to circumambulate it, whirl the big red prayer wheels, and pray before the shrine. It has four gates, but only one is available to devotees who wish to visit the shrine. To the left are large prayer wheels. On a daily basis, many elderly Bhutanese visit the chorten to circumambulate it, whirl the big red prayer wheels, and pray before the shrine. It has four gates, but only one is available to devotees who wish to visit the shrine.

National Memorial Chorten Devotees Praying

The Chorten is circumambulated solely in a clockwise orientation (reciting prayers and whirling the enormous red prayer wheels), as is the case with other religious sites in Bhutan. The Monlam Prayer Festival is celebrated here, and the Je Khenpo (Bhutan’s religious leader) addresses and blesses all who gather for the event.

Where is the National Memorial Chorten?

The National Memorial Chorten is located at the Thimphu City Centre in Bhutan. You can drive all the way to this place. Other tourists attraction in Thimphu include the Dzong, the World’s largest mountaintop statue of Buddha Dordenma, Thangka painting gallery. In addition, there are other tourist attractions like the historic house full of artifacts, monasteries, traditional paper mill, etc. Also, read Top 10 Spectacular places to visit in Bhutan and if you are interested in knowing even more in detail then the best guide would be Lonely Planet Bhutan.

Here in this place, you will find a lot of elderly people near the gain prayer wheels. If you are into Portrait photography then these people can be an ideal subject. Just make sure to request them if it is ok to capture their photos.

National Memorial Chorten

We visited the Memorial Chorten early in the morning and went further to Dochula Pass and unique monastery by the name Chimi Lhakhang. That’s was my experience of traveling to this place. Hope you enjoyed reading this blog post. Buy me a coffee to support my work or you can go to my store to buy some of my images. Also, do not forget to join my FriendZone by signing up for my newsletter.

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