National Memorial Chorten
One of the sights which greet you during your visit to Bhutan is that of chortens (it is a Buddhist shrine which is a monument to Lord Buddha). National Memorial Chorten is one of them. Also known as Thimphu Chorten, it is a major landmark in the city and is easily recognised with its golden spires and bells. In fact, more than being just a major landmark, it is also known as “the most visible religious landmark in Bhutan”.
National Memorial Chorten is a tourist attraction in Bhutan which you cannot miss easily. It is located in close proximity in the central part of Thimphu city. Upon visiting this iconic monument, your eyes will meet scores of elderly Bhutanese people circumambulating the Chorten for the greater part of the day. The word chorten, in the local language, means “the seat of faith”, while such monuments are often referred to by the Buddhists as “Mind of Buddha”.
The National Memorial Chorten, or the Thimphu Chorten, is built in the traditional Tibetan style of architecture. There is a pyramidal pillar topped by a crescent moon and sun. What makes it different from others though, is the round part of the structure which extends outwards at one end, thereby giving it the appearance of a vase. The chorten is also adorned with enormous images of wrathful deities in the company of their female counterparts.
You will easily be impressed by your visit to the National Memorial Chorten, as elegance shows itself both in its exteriors and interiors. As you enter, you are greeted with representations of three protective bodhisattvas (In Buddhism, a person who can attain nirvana but avoids doing so through compassion for other people). When you are finally inside the chorten, your eyes meet slated which are engraved with the images of the three gurus in Buddhism, Ngawang Namgyal, Gautama Buddha and Guru Padmasambhava. Large prayer wheels accompany these engravings. Even though there are four entrances to the chorten, only one of them remains open for the visitors. A special attraction of the chorten is the top floor which has lovely paintings depicting deities of the Nyingma school. On top of this floor is another one with a gallery in it. From here, you can get lovely views of the city.