A giant golden Buddha Statue sits at one of the mountains in Thimphu known as Kunzangphodrang. Its presence reflects the dominant religion in Bhutan. Buddhism plays a strong part in the daily life of the Bhutanese. The string of prayer flags along road sides, the numerous prayer wheels surrounding the clock tower in the center of town, the small chortens (small religious temples) and the numerous paintings and offerings on the walls of rock and cement.
The Buddha Dordenma is the largest sitting statue of the Buddha yetasuring in at measuring 51.5 meters in height and made of solid bronze. Inside the Buddha are 125,000 smaller Bhuddha statues, 25,000 12 inch statues and 100,000 8 inch statues. Tourists often drive once to see it as its view is without a doubt outstanding as the giant Buddha although large is not opposing but rather has a calm and assuring look.
The statue was made celebrating the 60th anniversary of the fourth King Jigme Singye Wangchuck while fulfilling two ancient prophecies from the 8th and 12th century which stated that a giant Buddha statue would be built in the region to bless the world with peace and happiness. This directly lines up with Bhutan’s model of growth focusing more on the Happiness index which measures the individual happiness of each citizen rather than the per capita income or any other monetary data.
The location was on the former ruins of Kuensel Phodrang a palace that belonged to Sherab Wangchuck who was a secular ruler of Bhutan under the duel government system during the 17th and 19th century.
While tourist gaze at the statue the locals often come for the other view, the view of the valley of Thimphu parking their cars along the roadside bringing snacks and drinks. The two views of Thimphu create a strange harmony of man-made and natural wonders that captivate.
A short trip to “Bhuddha point” as the locals have dubbed it is something that everyone in the area must try as it really is a unique experience. An experience only enhanced by some momos (Bhutanese dumplings), hot tea and the clean crisp air that only Bhutan has.