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Home > Explore by Theme > Buddhist Circuit > Buddhist Sites in Sikkim
 
 
 
 
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Buddhist Sites in Sikkim
  Buddha Park (Sakyamuni Project), Rabong
 
The year 2006 marked the 2550th birth anniversary of Lord Gautama Buddha. The state government in a policy decision had decided to observe the birth anniversary throughout the year in Sikkim. As a part of the celebrations, an initiative was taken by the people of Rabong to construct and install a statue of Lord Buddha at Rabong ,to commemorate the 2550th year, and also to develop the Buddhist Circuit in Sikkim. The state government has already kicked off the Buddhist circuit and this project would give the much required impetus to boost tourism and attract pilgrim tourists to the area.
   
  Dubdi Monastery
 
This was the first monastery established soon after the consecration ceremony of the first Chogyal. The monastery is located on a hill top above Yuksom surrounded by verdant forest. It can be approached by trekking only, negotiating steep slope for about half an hour. It is an ideal place for lamas seeking meditation recluse.
   
  Enchey Monastery
 
An important seat of the Nyingmapa order, the Enchey Monastery is built on the Site Blessed by Lama Druptok Karpo, a tantric master known for his power of flying. This 200 years old monastery has in its premises images of gods, goddesses and other religious objects. Every year around January, "Chaam" or religious masked dance is performed with great fanfare-for two days. It is situated close to Siniolchu Tourist Lodge, 3 kms from Gangtok Town.
   
  Gangtok
 
Namgyal Research Institute of Tibetology is the most prestigious research institute of its kind in the world, NIT is a treasure of vast collection of rare Lepcha, Tibetan and Sanskrit manuscripts, statues and rare Thankas (colourful tapestries used in Buddhist liturgy). Apart from an attractive museum, it has over 200 Buddhist icons and other prized objects of art. As far as its collections are concerned, it is only next to an institute in Tibet. Today it is renowned world wide centre for study of Buddhist philosophy and religion. The institute was established in 1958 to promote serious study and research on Buddhism.
   
  Gonjang Monastery
 
Gonjang Monastery near Tashi View Point was established in the year 1981. The founder is H.E. Tingkye Gonjang Rimpoche. He was recognised as an incarnation of Yolmo Terton Ngakchang Shakya Zangpo, a 15th century Nyingmapa Terton. The monastery follows Jangter tradition of Nyingmapa school of Tibeten Buddhism.
   
  Gurudongmar Lake
 
Situated at a height of 17,800 feet, it is considered one the most sacred lakes by the Buddhists and Hindus alike. The beautiful and awe inspiring lake (190 kms from Gangtok) remains milky in colour throughout the year. According to a legend, since the lake used to remain frozen most of the year, it was not possible to use its water for drinking purposes. When the Guru Padmasambhava passed by, while returning from Tibet, the local residents are reported to have approached him for providing source of water. The Guru obliged. A portion of the lake touched by him does not freeze in extreme winter. Since water of the lake is considered sacred, visitors carry the 'blessed' water in bottles.
   
  Labrang Monastery
 
Labrang Monastery is famous for its architectural style with rich frescoes detailing the interiors of the monastery. Between Phodong and Labrang Monastery are the ruins of the third capital of Sikkim, Tumlong.
   
  Namchi
 
78 kms from Gangtok, Namchi, literally translating as ‘top of the sky’ is the South district headquarters and fast emerging as a tourist destination. Set in a picturesque location, Namchi offers an unmatched view of the Khangchendzonga range and the Rangit valley. Here you can visit the Sherdup Choeling Monastery and the Dichen Choeling monastery. Around two kms from Namchi is the old Ngadak monastery which is now being renovated. Situated on a hill just above Ngadak monastery is the very attractive Rock Garden, which is full of rare flowers and plants and also offers breathtakingly beautiful views.
   
  Pal Zurmang Kagyud Monastery (Lingdum)
 
Pal Zurmang Kagyud Monastery, located at Lingdum, East Sikkim is at a distance of about 20 kms from Gangtok. The present Gharwang Rimpoche is the 12th Successive incarnation of the glorious emanation of Zurmang Gharwang. A place worth visiting for its religious and exquisite architecture and serene atmosphere.
   
  Pemayangste Monastery
 
It is one of the oldest monasteries of the State. It was originally established by Lhatsun Chempo, one of the revered Lamas to have performed the consecration ceremony of the first Chogyal (Monarch) of Sikkim. This ancient monastery belonging to the Nyingma Sect has been considered as one of the premier monasteries in the State. It has been entrusted with the task to perform all religious functions of the erstwhile monarch.
   
 
Originally, it was established as a high class monastery for "Pure Monks (Ta-Sang). Inside the monastery there is a wooden structure depicting the Maha Guru's heavenly palace (Sang-tok-palri), which is considered a masterpiece created by Dungzin Rimpoche. The Monastery, located on a hill top at an altitude of 6300 ft. commands a magnificent panoramic view of the Himalayan ranges, the surrounding hills and the countryside. A well furnished PWD Guest House is located just across the Monastery on a small hill top.
   
  Phensang Monastery
 
The place is situated on the gentle slope stretching from Kabi to Phodong with perhaps one of the best landscapes in the region. The Phensang Monastery, under the Nyingmapa Buddhist Order, was built in 1721 during the time of ]igmee Pawo. It was gutted by a fire in 1947 and rebuilt in 1948 through the efforts of the lamas. The annual festival of Chaam is performed on the 28th and 29th days of the tenth month of Lunar Calendar (Tibetan Calendar).
   
  Phodang Monastery
 
It is one of the six major monasteries of Sikkim, belonging to the Kagyut Order. It is located approximately 38 kms from Gangtok. Four kms beyond Phodong is the recently renovated Labrang Monastery, unique in-its architectural design. The Phodong Monastery was built in the 18th century by Chogyal Gyurmed Namgyal. The original monastery has been rebuilt although the old mural paintings and frescoes were preserved. It celebrates its annual chaam on the 28th and 29th day of the tenth month of the Tibetan calendar.
   
  Rumtek Monastery
 
The Rumtek monastery, a replica of the Tsurphu monastery of Kham region of Tibet belongs to the Kargyupa sect. It was founded during the reign of the fourth Chogyal in 1740 in the East District. Having a four storeyed building, it is the biggest monastery of Sikkim. Consequent upon the Chinese aggression over Tibet, His Holiness the Gyalwa Karmapa, the 16th incarnate of the Gyalwa Karmapa of Tibet came to Rumtek with a number of monks. The then Chogyal gifted him a large piece of land at Rumtek village to build a monastery and also develop a centre for religious studies.
   
 
The monastery has a special prayer hall, very impressive murals and thanka paintings and 1001 miniature golden images of Lord Buddha. It also has a religious centre by the name of Dharma Chakra Centre and a big residential-cum prayer hall. It also has an impressive library and special rooms for the high ranking incarnate Lamas.
   
 
The monastery overlooking Gangtok receives a large number of devotees and tourists throughout the year. Behind the main monastery is an extremely impressive and elaborately decorated Karma Nalanda Institute of Buddhist Studies, wherein students from all over the world are enrolled. There is also a small hall having a beautiful jewel studded Chorten known as the Golden Stupa. It has the ashes and remains of His Holiness, the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa.
   
  Samdrupste
 
Samdruptse literally means 'wish fulfilling hill' in the Bhutia language. Situated near Namchi in South Sikkim, it is at a distance of 75 kms from Gangtok. A unique, awe inspiring and gigangtic 135 feet high statue of Guru Padamasambhava is installed atop Sampruptse. It is the highest statue of Guru Padamasambhava in the world. His Holiness the Dalai Lama laid the foundation stone of the statue in October 1997. It took nearly three years to complete the statue.
   
 
Guru Padmasambhava also known as Guru Rimpoche had blessed Sikkim more than 1200 years ago. The statue is therefore a fitting tribute to this patron saint of Sikkim. The statue funded by the State Government was constructed and installed by His Eminence Dodrupchen Rimpoche and members of his Chorten trust. The installation was conceptualised by Shri Pawan Chamling, the Chief Minister of Sikkim and he remains the motivating and guiding force behind the entire project.
   
 
The ultimate plan is to make Samdruptse as an international pilgrimage centre on completion of meditation huts, ropeway library, guest house, public amenities, parking yard etc., around the towering statue. The message of love, compassion, peace and harmony is aimed to spread throughout the world from this historic hill.
   
  Sang-Choling Monastery
 
This monastery is situated on a ridge above Pelling facing the Pemayangtse Monastery. Built in 1697 A.D. it is considered to be one of the oldest monasteries of the State. To reach the Monastery a comfortable trek of forty minutes can be undertaken.
   
  Sa-Ngor Monastery
 
It is a Tibeten refugee monastic institution established in 1961 by his Eminence Luding Khen Rimpoche, Head of Ngorpa, sub-set of the Sakya Order, with the blessings of H.H. Sakya Trizin and H.H. The Dalai Lama. This is the only monastery of the sakya Order of Tibeten Buddhism in Sikkim. It is located on a beautiful hill top at a distance of 5 kms from Gangtok town.
   
  Tashiding Monastery
 
This monastery is constructed on top of a heart shaped hill with the back drop of the sacred Mt. Khangchendzonga. According to Buddhist scriptures Guru Padmasambhava, blessed the sacred land of Sikkim in the 8th century AD from this spot. The monastery, however, was built in the 18th Century AD by Ngadak Sempa Chempo, one of the three Lamas who had performed the consecration ceremony of the first Chogyal.
   
 
Tashiding is also famous for the most holy Chorten known as 'Thong-WaRang-Dol' which literally means 'Saviours by mere sight'. It is believed that the mere act of beholding it is supposed to wash away all the sins of the devotees. Another important feature is the sacred water festival unique to this monastery only. Every year, on 14th and 15th day of the first Lunar month, the Bhumchu Ceremony is organised with devotees coming from far and near to get the blessing of the holy water. The sacred holy water is officially sealed for safety by the lamas of the Monastery. It is taken out once a year on an auspicious occasion, only to be put back with some fresh additions.
   
  Lachung
 
The picturesque mountain village of Lachung, at a height of 8610 ft, embraced by snow capped mountain peaks, breathtaking waterfalls, sparkling streams and apple orchards is the perfect holiday destination. At Lachung you can visit the Lachung Gompa, built around 1880, the monastery is situated amidst apple orchards across the river from the town centre. Also go see the handicraft centre which has exquisitely woven rugs and blankets.
   
  Yuksam
 
33 kms from Pelling, Yuksom, literally meaning the ‘meeting place of three lamas’ is of great historical importance to the Sikkimese. It was here that the first Chogyal was crowned in 1642. The throne made of stones is even today considered sacred as is the footprint of Lhatsun Chenpo, which can be seen close to the throne. 2 km uphill from Yuksum is Dubdi monastery, the oldest in Sikkim. The monastery has now been declared a National Monument and is under the protection of the Archaeological Survey of India Yuksum today is an attractive tourist destination offering various stay options for the visitors including village home stays, where you can stay as part of a local family and imbibe the real Sikkimese way of life.
   
 
 
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