Popularly known as the ‘most visible religious landmark in Bhutan’ the Memorial Chorten was built in 1974. Also known as stupa, chortens are generally a saint’s shrine tomb or monument to lord Buddha.
A very common sight in Bhutan they can be found everywhere; cities, villages, isolated mountains and picturesque river banks. A burial mound in most cases they are built in remembrance of distinguished lamas, prominent kings or to pin down evil spirits. The meaning of the Tibetan origin word chorten is ‘receptacle’ of worship or offering and has long been a good symbol of worship long before the rise of Buddhism.
The memorial Chorten also known as the Thimpu chorten was also built in honour of a great king; Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, the 3rd king of Bhutan. However it does not house the mortal remains of the king but has a photo of the King in his ceremonial garb in one of the halls.
Standing majestically in the centre of the city it shows great influence of the Tibetan style of chortens. The tall pyramid pillar has on its top the sun and crescent moon. The rounded area flares outwardly resulting in more of a vase shape rather than a dome. The chorten is also adorned with many statues of tantric deities together in various love making poses with their female consorts.
The exterior is pure white and has a gold spire at its pinnacle along with another smaller gold spire that stands atop the front porch. The outside gate also has carvings of the 3 protective Bodhisattvas. The large prayer halls attract thousands of devotees every day; however of the 4 main gates only 1 functions as an entrance to them. Large red prayer wheels including those the size of the room is whirled as people submit themselves to prayers. The interior has many statues and shrines dedicated to the King.
Bhutan has many landmarks that are must visits for tourists. These sites are scattered across the country, so an organized and cost effective way to visit all of them can be arranged for you when you opt for one of the Bhutan tour packages. They will also arrange accommodation for you at a suitable Bhutan luxury hotel. If your preferences lie towards luxury then you could suggest the COMO,Paro,Bhutan.
Pushpitha Wijesinghe is an experienced independent freelance writer. He specializes in providing a wide variety of content and articles related to the travel hospitality industry.