Monasteries - Sikkim

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

Pemayangtse is situated in West Sikkim at Gyalshing (140 Kms. from Gangtok) and commands an impressive view of Mt. Kanchendzonga. 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.

Rumtek Monastery

About 45 minutes drive from Gangtok, 24 kms. away, is the Rumtek Dharma Chakra Center, the seat of the Kagyu order, one of the 4 major Tibetan Buddhist sects. Since the late 1960's, after the arrival of His Holiness the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa, the center houses some of the world's most unique religious scriptures and religious art objects. 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 kms. 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.

Enchey Monastery

This monastery is situated in Gangtok on a hill top. It was built during the reign of Thutob Namgyal. An important seat of the Nyingma order, the Enchey Monastery is built on the site blessed by Lama Druptob Karpo, a tantric master known for his power of flying. 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.

Phensang Monastery

This monastery in North Sikkim 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 thangs largely to the devotion of the Lamas and the unstinted spot of the laity. 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.

Phodang Monastery

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.

Tashiding Monastery

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.

Sanga Chelling Monastery

Sanga chelling means ' the island of esoteric teaching'. This monastery was built in 1697 and is situated about 7 kms. from Pemayangste. It is said to be the oldest monastery in Sikkim.

Dubdi Monastery

Dubdi means 'the retreat' and this monastery was built in 1700. It is located near Yuksum on a hill top. One has to travel by foot to reach it.

Khechopari Monastery

This monastery is located just above the famous near Yukusm.

Melli Monastery

Melli basically means 'a lepcha village'. This monastery is also located near Yuksum.

Sinon Monastery

Sinon means 'the suppressor of intense fear'. The monastery was built in 1716 and is located about 10 kms. from Tashiding on a hill top.

Dalling Monastery

Dalling means 'the thunderbolt'. This monastery was built in 1840 and is situated near kwezing in .

Yangyang Monastery

Yangyang means 'the ridge of fortune'. This monastery was built in 1840 and is situated at a place called Yangyang 10 kms. downhill from Rabongla.

Namchi Monastery

This monastery is located in Namchi, the district headquarters of south district and was constructed during the reign of Chogyal Gurmed Namgyal.

Kwezing Monastery

This monastery is located near Kwezing in South Sikkim. It was built during the reign of Chogyal Thutob Namgyal.

Simik Monastery

This monastery is situated in near Singtam town. It was built during the reign of Chogyal Tsudphud Namgyal.

Hee Gyathang Monastery

This monastery is located in and follows the Nyingma sect of Buddhism.

Lingtem Monastery

This monastery is located in the Zongu area of North Sikkim.

Chawang Ani Monastery

This monastery is located near Phensang which is on the highway between Gangtok amd Mangan. It was built during the reign of Chogyal Tshudphud Namgyal .

Rhenock Monastery

This monastery is located in bout 63 kms. from Gangtok.

Khatok Monastery

This monastery is located in East Sikkim near Pakyong. The present structure of the monastery was built during the reign of Chogyal Thutob Namgyal.

Bermoik Monastery

This monastery was constructed in 1952 and follows the Nyingma sect of Buddhism. It is situated in South Sikkim above Singtam.

Lachen Monastery

This monastery in North Sikkim was built in 1806 and follows the Nyingma sec of Buddhism.

Lachung Monastery

This monastery in North Sikkim was built in Sikkim 1880 and also follows the Nyingma sect of Buddhism.

Sang Monastery

This monastery is situated near Rumtek and was built in 1912.

Ralong Monastery

This monastery is situated near Rabongla in South Sikkim.

Monastic Tour

Suggested Tour Itinerary

Day tour:

1.NJP/Bagdora to Gangtok.
2.Gangtok to Tsomgo and back.
3.Enchey to Rumtek and back.
4.Phodong - Labrang and back.
5.A day rest/shopping.
6.Gangtok to Tashiding.
7.Tashiding to Pemayangtse.
8.Pemayangtse a day rest.
9.Pemayantse to NJP/Bagdora or Darjeeling/Kalimpong.

Sikkim