A massive golden Buddha statue can be seen from most parts of Thimphu and today I am there to seek his blessings.
The Buddha statue , a part of Buddha Dordenma project , is a massive 51 meters statue situated on top of a hill in the 1000 acres forested Kuensel Phodrang Nature Park. A short drive through winding roads leads to the site.
In no time I am in front of Shakyamuni Buddha ,one of the largest sitting Buddha statues in the world. Made of bronze and gilded in gold he is seen with an alms bowl in the left hand .The face radiates compassion and serenity and he seems to be looking right at you. The mammoth statue is surrounded by beautiful Dakinis_ enlightened ladies of Buddhism.
The Buddha Dordernma site informs that this is 100 million USD international project and it commemorates the centennial of the Bhutan monarchy.Work began in 2006 and it was consecrated by the chief abbot in September 2016.
Before going inside the meditation hall I went around the place and took time to take in the majestic panoramic view of the Thimphu valley.
Inside the meditation hall there are huge statues of Buddha and his various manifestations. The gilded walls are lined with thousands of small Buddha statues, huge thankhas and elaborate mandalas .The iconography is stunning.
In spite of the serene environs I could sense a corporate aura .It was rather disconcerting to see so much gold, diamond(The third eye of Buddha is made of diamonds) and the prominent dispaly of sponsors. After all,Buddha was the prince who gave up his kingdom and chose the middle path. I prefer the small temples built by revered monks and devotees where one can see history and piety.
After the Buddha Point I went to see the Coronation Park.This is near the National Stadium.A 45 ft tall walking Buddha statue dominates the park .This statue is a gift from Thailand and the local people affectionately call him Thai Buddha.
This is a nice quiet place to unwind and listen to the chants of prayer flags.