Sikkim’s near about 200 monasteries or Gompas belonging to the Nyingma and Kagyu order have not only been influencing the cultural heritage and lifestyle of the people, but also demonstrates the ancient rituals in practice.
Devoted Lamas robed in red, chant ancient mantras to the rhythm of drums and trumpets while soft lights flicker from decorative lamps placed before statues of the great Guru Padmasambhava. Feel the peace and quiet of being one with nature and close to the almighty as sacred words mingle with the whirring prayer wheels.
The Gompas are adorned with life-like frescoes of hoary Buddhist legends, rare silk and brocade Thangkas. Also preserved here, are ancient Tibetan manuscripts, exquisitely carved wood work and icons of silver and gold.
Pemayangtse Monastery is situated in West Sikkim at Gyalshing (140 kms. from Gangtok) and commands an impressive view of Mount khanchendzonga. It was originally a small Lhekhang build by Lhatsun Chenpo in the 17th century. Later during the rule of the third Chogyal Chakdor Namgyal, Lhatsun Chenpo’s third reincarnate jigme Pawo extended it and rebuild the structure. This monastery belongs to the Nyigma order and all other Nyigma order monasteries in Sikkim are subordinate to it. The monks of Pemayangtse are usually from the leading Bhutia families in Sikkim. There are 108 monks in this monastery.
The monastery houses numerous religious idols and other objects of worship, most of which are precious because of their antiquity. On the top floor of the monastery there is a wooden sculpture depicting the Maha Gurus Heavenly Palace “Sanghthokpalri”. This master piece was completed by the late Dungzin Rimpoche, who took five years to craft it single handed. The main festival of the monastery is on the 28th & 29th day of the 12th month of the Tibetan calender, normally corressponding to the month of february. During these two days religious dances are performed and pilgrims come from all over Sikkim to watch them.
This monastery is situated in Gangtok on a hill top. It was built during the reign of Thutob Namgyal. This 200 year 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.
Lama Drupthob Karpa is supposed to have built a small hermitage at the spot he reached after he flew from Maenam Hill in South Sikkim. Later during the reign of Sikyong Tulku (1909-1910), the present monastery was built in the shape of a Chinese Pagoda.
Following the Nyingma order, it has around 90 monks. The annual Puja is celebrated with dances on the 18th & 19th days of the twelfth month of the lunar calendar.
24 Kms. from Gangtok, a drive through beautiful countryside takes one to Rumtek Dharma Chakra centre built in 1960’S by his holiness the late 16th GYALWA KARMAPA when he took refuge in Sikkim after the Chinese attack. It houses some of the world’s most unique art objects, ancient manuscripts and icons. Traditional in design, it is almost a replica of the original Kagyu headquarters in Tibet.
Rumtek monastery, a must for every visitor, where one can find some of the worlds most unique art objects, this place is the seat of the Kagyu order — a close replica of the original Kagyu in Tibet.
About 2 kilometers away from Dharma Chakra Center is the rebuilt 300 year old Rumtek monastery which was originally built by the fourth Chogyal. His Holiness late Gyalwa Karmapa lived in this monastery till the completion of the Rumtek Dharma Chakra Center. The annual dances are held here on the 28th & 29th day of the Tenth month of the lunar calendar.
This monastery was built in 1721 during the time of Jigme Pawo. In 1947 it was completely gutted by a devastating fire. However it was rebuilt in 1948. It is present in North Sikkim. There are around 300 monks under the monastery and the main annual function in the monastery is on the 28th & 29th days of the tenth month of the Tibetan Calender which normally corresponds to the month of December.
This monastery is in North Sikkim 28 kms. from Gangtok. The original monastery is rebuilt and is today one of the most beautiful monasteries in Sikkim. It possesses the old mural paintings and has around 260 monks. Like the Ralong and Rumtek the main annual Puja is performed on the 28th & 29th days of the tenth month of the Tibetan Calender when the religious dances are performed.
This is another important monastery belonging to the Nyingmapa order and is about 40 Kms. from Gyalshing by road via Legship (West Sikkim). It lies nestled on the top of a hill that looms up between the Rathong river and the Rangit river and is surrounded by a profusion of Prayer flags that flutter in the air. There are also many chortans dedicated to some Chogyals and some religious personalities of Sikkim. Carved skillfully on stone plates surrounding th emonastery are holly Buddhist mantras like “Om Mane Padme Hum” by the master crafts man Yanchong Lodil.
The monastery was built in 1717 by Ngadak Sempa Chembo during the reign of the third Chogyal Chakdor Namgyal. The sacred ceremony of Bumchu is held here at midnight of the 14th & 15th of the first Tibetan month. There is a bus service from Gyalshing to Tashiding. Atrekkers hut is available for the tourist at Tashiding.
Interesting Places Of Sikkim
WEST SIKKIM – GYALSING
- Pemayangtse Monastery
- Khecheoperi Lake
NORTH SIKKIM – MANGAN
SOUTH SIKKIM – NAMCHE
- Kabi Lungchok
- Phodong Monastery
- Temi Tea Garden
- Phur Tsa Chu
- Jorethang Akara Bridge
- v Guru-dongmar Lake
- v Varsey
EAST SIKKIM – GANGTOK
- Enchey Monastery
- White Hall Flower Festival
- Rabdentse Ruins
- Dodrul Chorten
- Namgyal Research Institute
- Sanga-Choling Monastery of Tibetology (NRIT)
- Ganesh Tok
- Hanuman Tok
- Tashi View Point
- Bulbule Jungle Resort
- Rumtek Dharma Chakra Centre
- Directorate of Handicraft & Handloom
- Dubdi Monastery Ranka
- Tsomgo Lake
- Tashiding Monastery
- Changu Lake
- Nathula Pass