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Bhutan > Pictures and travelogues > Thimphu

Pictures from Thimphu, Bhutan: Buddha Dordenma statue, National Memorial Chorten, and Bhutan Parliament.   

Buddha Dordenma statue in Thimphu, Bhutan
Buddha Dordenma statue in Thimphu, Bhutan.

Buddha Dordenma is a gigantic Shakyamuni Buddha statue erected amidst the ruins of Kuensel Phodrang, the palace of Sherab Wangchuck. It is located atop a hill in Kuenselphodrang Nature Park, about 100 meters (330 ft) above the Wang Chuu river bed. It overlooks part of Thimphu city.

The statue newly constructed is one of the largest statues of Buddha in the world. It is 51.5 meters (169 ft) high. It is made of bronze and gilded in gold. The statue houses 125,000 smaller gilded Buddha statues. The throne that the Buddha Dordenma sits upon is a large meditation hall.

The Buddha Dordenma statue is surrounded by the 382 ha (943.4 acres) wide forest area of Kuenselphodrang nature park.

Bhutan is a small country of 750,000 people located at the eastern end of the Himalayas between India and Tibet. It has been largely isolated from the rest of the world, until recently.

Thimphu has been the capital of the country since 1961. It is also now the largest city of Bhutan. Thimphu is located at an average altitude of  2400m (7875ft) in the valley formed by the Wang Chuu River in the western central part of Bhutan.
Thimphu's development is strictly monitored and buildings cannot exceed a certain height, nor can they be designed in anything but the traditional Bhutanese style.

Thimphu is served by the airport of Paro, which is connected by road about 54 kilometers (34 mi) away.

National Memorial Chorten in Thimpu, Bhutan
National Memorial Chorten in Thimpu, Bhutan.

The National Memorial Chorten is a large white structure crowned with a golden spire. It is located close to the center of Thimphu city. It was built in 1974 to honor the memory of the 3rd King of Bhutan, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, who had died in 1972. It was built by the King’s mother, Her Majesty the Queen Ashi Phuntsho Choden Wangchuck. This chorten is unlike other chortens as it does not enshrine the mortal remains of the King.

The National Memorial Chorten, popularly known as the Thimphu Chorten, has four entrances but only one entrance is open for devotees to visit the shrine. It has four shrines, each with different pictures of the king. It is a 3 stories tall monument. Above the top floor there is a gallery which offers spectacular views of the city.

The Thimphu Chorten is one of the most iconic monuments of Thimphu. Elderly Bhutanese people circumambulate the Chorten throughout the day and whirl the large red prayer wheels.

Bhutan Parliament in Thimphu
Bhutan Parliament building in Thimphu: the National Assembly.

The political system of Bhutan has evolved over time together with its tradition and culture. It has developed from an absolute monarchy into a constitutional monarchy. Bhutan held its first elections country wide in 2008. The King and the Parliament enacted the Constitution of Bhutan on July 18, 2008.

The Parliament of Bhutan is made up of an upper house (the National Council), a lower house, (the National Assembly), and the King (Druk Gyalpo). The National Assembly consists of 47 members directly elected by the citizens of constituencies within each dzongkhag (district) of Bhutan. All the members serve for a term of five years.

The National Council acts as a subordinate house reviewing various matters, except for monetary or budget-related bills. Proceedings of the Parliament of Bhutan - both the National Assembly sessions and the National Council - are open to the public.

New elections took place on 23 April 2013 for the National Council and on 13 July 2013 for the National Assembly.



Marie-France Grenouillet in Bhutan
find here more pictures from bhutan: its population, its festivals, its monuments, its landscapes and particularly its fauna (including golden langurs).

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Bhutan > Pictures and travelogues > Thimphu sightseeing

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Pictures from Thimphu, Bhutan: Buddha Dordenma statue, National Memorial Chorten, and Bhutan Parliament. Travel directory and travel guide to Bhutan.