Buddha Dordenma – Complete Guide To Planning A Trip

buddha dordenma - imposing statue

Set atop a hill in Thimphu’s Kuenselphodrang Nature Park, Buddha Dordenma is a massive statue of Shakyamuni Buddha. At 169 feet (51.5 meters), it is considered one of the largest sitting Buddha statues in the world.

The statue represents the moment of enlightenment with Buddha seated cross-legged in lotus position (padmasana). It is complemented by the surrounding lush greenery and gorgeous statues of female Bodhisattvas.

This prominently located statue caught our eye as soon as we stepped into the town. It was the first place we visited after arriving in Thimphu.

There are several sights and attractions in Thimphu that you shouldn’t miss on your trip. Check out our travel guide with the 10 best things to do in Thimphu to learn more.

Without further ado, let me share more details about Buddha Dordenma including things to do, how to get there, and some useful tips.

A Quick Glance Through

Where Is It

Buddha Dordenma is located in Kuenselphodrang, about 6 km away from the city center (Clock Tower Square).

Refer to the map above for the exact location of the place.

Some Facts About Buddha Dordenma

  • The foundation stone of the monument was laid in 2006.
  • Its completion in 2015 marked the 60th anniversary of the fourth king Jigme Singye Wangchuck.
  • The statue fulfills two ancient prophecies.
    • A great yogi, Sonam Zangpo, predicted that a large Buddha statue would be built in the region to bless the whole world with peace and happiness.
    • Another prediction made by Guru Rinpoche is believed to have been discovered by Terton Pema Lingpa.
  • There are 125,000 smaller Buddha statues inside the large Shakyamuni Buddha statue. The smaller statues measure 8 to 12 inches.
  • The Buddha Dordenma statue is made of bronze with a gold coating around it.
  • The place is popularly called Buddha Point by locals.

Things To Do And See

Marvel At The Imposing Buddha Statue

The statue overlooks the Thimphu Valley and is beautifully positioned against the soothing backdrop of lush hills.

statue of buddhist goddess at buddha dordenma
Statue of A Female Bodhisattva

Complimenting Buddha Dordenma are the golden statues of Buddhist goddesses (Bodhisattvas) placed in the courtyard.

Spend some quiet moments gazing at this grand statue of Lord Buddha and experience a sense of calmness.

Also, admire the intricately colourful murals carved on the walls of the monument.

elephant mural at buddha dordenma
A Mural on The Monument’s Wall

Each mural has its spiritual importance. The elephant is a symbol of mental strength in Buddhism.

Soak in The Natural Vistas

Apart from the divine vibes, the place also affords stunning views of the surroundings.

You have sweeping views of the Thimphu Valley on one side and rolling green hills on the other side.

view from buddha point in thimphu
Thimphu Valley As Seen From The Hilltop

Buddha Point offers fantastic opportunities for photography too.

Visit The Meditation Hall

The meditation hall is located beneath the seat of the Shakyamuni Buddha Statue.

meditation hall buddha dordenma
Exterior of The Meditation Hall

There are 125,000 miniature statues of Buddha inside the hall. You can stroll around, admire different types of Buddha statues, and seek their blessings.

Although taking photographs is not allowed inside the hall, this remarkable sight will always remain etched in your memory.

Where To Stay

All foreign nationals except for citizens of India, Bangladesh, and Maldives need to book their trips with a registered tour operator. So, your hotel most likely will be booked by your tour provider.

If you are from India/Bangladesh/Maldives and traveling independently, here are some top hotel recommendations for each budget type.

Luxury – Pemako

Pemako (Formerly Taj Tashi) provides one of the most lavish accommodations in Thimphu. It has 66 sumptuously decorated and well-equipped rooms.

From a full-service spa to on-site restaurant and a tea lounge, the hotel offers a good range of amenities to make your stay pleasant.

Pemako – Check Availability and Book A Room.

Mid-range – City Hotel Thimphu

The property features 32 elegant and spacious rooms.

It is centrally located, close to Thimphu’s main attractions. Buddha Dordenma is less than 20-minute drive away.

City Hotel Thimphu – Check Availability and Book A Room.

Budget-friendly – Hotel Gakyil

Hotel Gakyil is an excellent choice for budget travellers.

The hotel has 40 clean and bright rooms that come with a private bathroom, wifi, and TV.

Hotel Gakyil – Check Availability and Book A Room.

How To Get To Buddha Dordenma

The Buddha Dordenma statue is just about 15-minute drive away from the famous clock tower in Thimphu.

There are two entrances to the Complex – the main entrance from the hillside and the other one from the valley side.

buddha point entry from hillside
Hillside Entrance

We got in from the main entrance. Many locals were coming from the valley side though.

You will need to climb a series of steps to get here if you take the valley-side entrance.

Adjacent to the main entry point, there is a parking space for cars and tourist vehicles.

If you are wondering how to get to Thimphu, I am going to share that as well.

Thimphu is approximately 48 km from the airport town of Paro. No matter which part of the world you are coming from, you will land at Paro Airport.

From Paro International Airport, it is close to 1.5-hour drive to Thimphu.

Bhutan is also accessible by road from India. You can reach Bagdogra (India) by flight and then a 4.5-hour road trip brings you to the border town of Phuentsholing (Bhutan).

Immigration formalities are done at the Phuentsholing Immigration Office. From Phuentsholing, it is roughly 6-hour journey to Thimphu by car.

Timings And Entry Fee

The monument is open from 9 am to 5 pm on all days other than Mondays and national holidays.

There is no entry fee to visit.

Tips For Visiting

  • The area is quite windy even in summer. So, remember to carry your sweater/jacket. When we visited, we left our woollen clothes in the car. It was so windy up there that we had to go back to the car to get our sweaters.
  • Carry your DSLR camera if you have got one. With charming scenery all around, this place is extremely photogenic.
  • Photography inside the meditation hall is not allowed. This doesn’t mean you can’t carry your mobile phone there but don’t use it to click pictures.
  • You will need to take off your footwear before entering the meditation hall.

Further Reading

Find more inspiration for your upcoming Thimphu trip.

10 Very Best Things To Do in Thimphu.

Cheri Monastery Hiking Guide.

Dochula Pass – How To Plan Your Visit.

Tashichho Dzong, Bhutan – Your Essential Travel Guide.

Over To You Now…

We hope you found this guidebook about Buddha Dordenma helpful.

Did you manage to see this marvellous Buddha statue on your Thimphu trip? Tell us in the comments below.

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