Best Places To Visit In Thimphu Bhutan – Clock Tower Square
One of the many Best Places To Visit In Thimphu Bhutan is the famous landmark that is the Clock Tower Square situated at the heart of the city, Thimphu. It is a popular venue for important events such as cultural festivals, sports events, concerts, fund-raising events, movie award ceremonies, trade fairs, live musical shows, and even once hosted the Indo-Bhutan Friendship Car Rally.
It is located just below Norzin Lam, which is sort of like the main street of Thimphu.
Things To Do In Bhutan – The Famous Clock Tower
And of course, one of the Things To Do in Bhutan is to see the famous Clock Tower. Why is it famous? Well, it is very beautiful, and it is the first clock tower ever built in Bhutan.
* Interesting Fact – The Clock Tower has four faces, each displaying a different time. When I first noticed that I thought they may be showing different times at different locations. Sadly, a close friend who worked there, and whom I visited and stayed with, informed me that they were just not well maintained.
The same friend added that the clock tower was the first ever built in Bhutan. Some time back she was dug out and temporarily stored away while the area was renovated into a square. After the renovations were done, she was placed back at the center of the square.
The Clock Tower is very beautiful, and covered with intricate designs of traditional Bhutanese architecture. Rich Bhutanese carvings and paintings , traditionally hand crafted, showing images of flowers and gold painted dragons decorate the four sides of the Clock Tower. The dragons are symbolic, representing Bhutan as an independent dragon kingdom with the name – Land of The Thunder Dragon.
Things To Do In Bhutan – Traditional Bhutanese Mani Lhalhor (Prayer Wheels)
Around the square, there are Traditional Bhutanese Mani Lhalhor (Prayer Wheels) that are extraordinarily pretty to look at.
They are in the same Clock Tower Square, and feel free to spin the prayer wheels. Spinning prayer wheels is a common practice in Bhutan, you can almost say it is a Bhutanese way of life. They are seen almost everywhere in the country. The belief is that when a person spins or turns the wheels, they alleviate bad karma, and gain wisdom and merit. Some also believe that by turning the wheels, good luck is received.
The prayer wheels here are made of metal. And it can also be made from wood, stone, leather or even coarse cotton. In the picture above, the wheels are crafted with the Buddhist mantra – Om Mani Padme Hum. It is in the Sanskrit language, and cannot be easily translated into an English phrase. It is believed that when a person speaks or chants this mantra, the person will receive many blessings.
The prayer wheel structure is exquisitely decorated with traditional Bhutanese paintings and motifs. A real credit to the Bhutanese on how much effort and detail they place in this display. Don’t you agree (see both images below)?
Around The Clock Tower Square
When you have toured the city of Thimphu for few hours, and need a place to rest, this is an ideal location for that. There are many benches around the square for people to sit, relax and enjoy the view.
Also, around the square, one can find shops, restaurants, supermarkets, and hotels in quaint three-storey buildings that are designed with a blend of fine traditional and modern Bhutanese architecture. They have multi-colored wood frontages, small arched windows and sloping roofs.
One of the properties that caught my eye was the Druk Hotel that is at this location. It looks luxurious, or as luxurious as can be in Bhutan. I heard from my friend who worked in Bhutan that this is quite a good hotel. Perhaps next time I will stay there?
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