The huge white-washed Tibetan-Style Stupa richly decorated with a pyramidal pillar crowned by a crescent moon and sun is the famous National Memorial Chorten. Built in 1974 in honor of the late third Druk Gyalpo King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck also known as the ‘father of modern Bhutan’, the National Memorial Chorten is the center of worship and the outdoor wonder spot.

Here are top 5 things that one can do while visiting this impressive monument

1. Connect yourself to the spiritual world 

National Memorial Chorten is the center of worship where hundreds of devotees visit on a daily basis. The stupa is believed to represent the ‘mind of the Buddha’ fulfilling the last wish of the 3rd king.

The stupa which itself is one form of religious assets is condensed with several other religious icons of significant importance. On the exterior of the gate are the representations of the three protective Bodhisattvas – Avolokiteshvara (the symbol of compassion, Manjushiri (the symbol of knowledge) and Vaajrapani (the symbol of power.) On the interior are slates engraved with the image of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, Gautama Buddha and Guru Padmasabhava.

A lot of religious ceremonies and events are conducted in the stupa to bring the peace in the world. One can circumambulate this iconic religious landmark, chant prayers, light the butter lamps at the soothing sound of prayer bells, and let all of your body, mind and speech connect to the god and the spiritual world.

2. Connect with the social life 

If you are someone who fancy about meeting with the various people, interacting and dealing with them, there is no other place better than National Memorial Chorten. Every day, hundreds of people of all ages and from all walks of life are seen in the vicinity of the Chorten. The school children, office goers, monks, workless and fashionable teenagers, elderlies and differently abled people can be spotted.

Generally, National Memorial Chorten is where it houses a lots of our wise elderlies or senior citizen. A huge populace of our grandfather ad grandmother spends their whole day at the Memorial Chorten chanting prayers and prostrating. Just at the single sight or the glance at these people, one feels relaxed and contended.

If you are someone like me who loves spending time with these wise senior citizen, listen to their age-old stories, tell them your own silly stories, watch them get amazed exposing their doma-stained teeth, National Memorial Chorten is definitely the one to reckon on to.

3. Connect with nature 

National Memorial Chorten is surrounded by a well-maintained garden where one is greeted by the colors and aroma of various seasonal flowers and plants. It is so much pleasurable to walk through the slate-path with the flower garden at your left side and the well-maintained carpet of green grasses on the right that looks like an artificial turf.

There is a little beautiful pond at the back side of the stupa where the structure of the Dakini stands in the center and the water flows through the golden vase in her hand. One feel awed at how beautiful and serene the sight is.

Similarly, one can also spot a flock of pigeon who nests on the green lawn, drinks water from the pond and the feeds on the ceremonial rice and grains. I personally feels National Memorial Chorten is the one where the people and the nature harmoniously blends and live together.

4. Connect yourself with your health and physiques 

A lot of people go for jogging and running in the road and streets in the name of maintaining the personal health and physiques. While this trend is extremely good, there are also some people who chose to circumambulate and do the prostration in the National Memorial Chorten.

Therefore, if these two are judged from the layman’s lens, the later ones are quite smart. They are killing two birds with one stone. They are firstly keeping their bodies active while at the same time they are accumulating spiritual merit by circumambulating and prostrating the religiously significant monument.

5. Connect yourself with your inner self 

Located at the heart of the Thimphu city, the National Memorial Chorten is one of the prominent landmarks of Thimphu valley. It is easily accessible to everyone at any time of the day.

One can visit this historical monument, stay as long as you like, watch the spiritual people, learn from them and also take the time for self-realization. Moreover, you can visit this monument to celebrate your joy or to ease your pain as there is no calmer place in Thimphu than this.

Speaking through the personal experience, I visit the National Memorial Chorten over every little incidence. If something good happens, like getting a promotion at the work, I go to Memorial Chorten to say a prayer of gratitude. If something wrong happens, like the scolding from the boss, I go to Memorial Chorten to wipe off my stresses and to reflect what led to that situation. I feel much better both physically and emotionally every time I exit.

Wrap up

Apart from the aforementioned 5 things that one can do while visiting National Memorial Chorten, there are also other things one can do such as making donations to save animals, conduct rituals for the personal wellbeing, contribute to serve a meal for those elderly etc. Therefore, one can have your own agenda and derive the utmost fun and merits from this iconic and the most-visited landmark in Thimphu city.

About the author

Karma Wangmo

Passionate traveller and blogger, she shares her experience and findings of the unique cultures and attractions in Bhutan. Studied sustainable development management from the College of Natural Resources, Bhutan, sustainability is her top-notch.

Travelling to Bhutan?

We are the local cultural and history experts in Bhutan who can help organize your trip. Let us plan your trip.

Chinese (Simplified) Chinese English English Japanese Japanese Korean Korean