Monday, September 27, 2010

Thimphu. The National Memorial Chorten.


Oh no, I got up a bit late this morning. I scurried down to breakfast and quickly gulped down breakfast. By the time I finished, I only a couple of minutes to get back to my room and grab my bags to meet up with the gang. I hate being late but damn, I would have been on time had this sight of chilies drying on a building rooftop had not distracted me. I'm blaming it all on the chilies :-)

Today was our only day in Thimphu. By nightfall, we'd be in Punakha but until then, we had a long day of touring ahead of us starting with a visit to the National Memorial Chorten which is located not even a 10 minute drive away from the hotel.


We didn't do much driving around Thimphu yesterday so I don't know if there were any other religious monuments or not to know if there is anything more impressive but most certainly, this large chorten most certainly stood out....I've never seen a chorten this big. 

The National Memorial was built in 1974 by Her Majesty the late Queen Ashi Phuntsho Choden Wangchuck in memory of her son, the third King, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck (1928 – 1972).

According to a description that I found on the web,

"....the whitewashed chorten is decorated with richly carved annexes facing the four directions, and features elaborate mandalas, statues and a shrine dedicated to the popular third king. There are numerous religious paintings and complex tantric statues housed inside reflecting both peaceful and wrathful aspects of Buddhist deities."


 











For many people in Thimpu, the Chorten is the focus of their daily worship.  When we got there, it was still fairly early in the morning and the place was already crowded with people circumambulating the chorten, whirling the large red prayer wheels and prostrating in prayer.

  

When in Bhutan, do as the Buddhist devotees do so we all joined the walk around the chorten though I stopped every few feet to admire the chorten's decorations, to people watch and to just soak in the atmosphere around me. 




You can't go inside the Chorten so our visit was a brief one.   Even so, I think we all found a way to linger by the Chorten, if for no other reason to enjoy the spectacular weather. After a week of roaming through rainy, dreary West Bengal, it felt so good to just bathe ourselves in bright sunshine.

Tenzing let us stay as long as he could but eventually, he gently marshalled us all back into the van and away we went!  Next stop....the Gagyel Lhendup Weaving Center.