Sikkim Monasteries Tour
The more than 200 odd monasteries in the state clearly demonstrate that they are an essential part of Sikkim. These monasteries link the culture of Sikkim to Tibetan Buddhism. Most of these monasteries belong to the Nyingmapa Sect or the Kargyupa Sect. The peaceful environment of these monasteries allows one to be close to the almighty. The present article reflects on the most famous monasteries of Sikkim:
Built by the Gyalwa Karmapa in the 1960s, Rumtek Monastery is the biggest monastery in the Eastern Himalaya. The monastery is constructed according to the time-honored designs of Kagyarupa monastery of Tibet. Just 24 kms from Gangtok, this wonderful monastery features the most distinctive art items, manuscripts and icons.
One of the oldest monasteries of Sikkim, Pemayangtse Monastery was built in 1705. Situated in Gyalshing (West Sikkim), the building of the monastery is three storied, and features an excellent collection of sculptures and wall paintings. The monastery belongs to the Nyingma-pa sect. Religious dance "Cham" is performed in this monastery in Januray or February every year.
Established in 1909 during the supremacy of Thutob Namgyal, Enchey Monastery belongs to the Nyingma order of Vajrayana Buddhism. The name of this monastery means "Solitaire Temple." Here also, "Cham", a religious dance is performed every year. The monastery features various religious objects and images of Gods and Goddesses.
The monastery was built in 1721 during the period of Jigme Pawo. Located in North Sikkim, Phensang Monastery was completly desolated by fire in 1947 and was rebuilt in 1948. Around 300 monks celebrate annual Buddhist festival here in the month of December/January. This monastery belongs to Nyingmapa order.
28 kilometers from Gangtok in North Sikkim, this monastery was built in the first quarter of the eighteenth century by Chogyal Gyurmed Namgyal. One of the most beautiful monasteries, Phodang Monastery features various beautiful mural paintings. Phodang monastery has around 260 monks.
This monastery is located on North Sikkim Highway just 2 kilometers uphill of Phodong monastery. Labrang Monastery belongs to Nyingmapa sect, and is one of the premier monasteries of Sikkim. Unlike various other old monasteries, Labrang Monastery keeps its original structure even after being devastated by fire. This monastery was built in 1814.
Sanga Cheling Monastery:
The name of the monastery means "the island of esoteric teaching." Built in 1697, Sanga Cheling Monastery is one of the oldest monasteries of Sikkim. Highly venerated among the Nyingmapa sect, the monastery is the creation of Lhatsun Chenpo. The monastery is just 7 kms from Pemayangtse monastery.
Tashiding Monastery lies on the hilltop that lies between Rathong and Rangit rivers. This monastery belongs to Nyingmapa order and was built in the 17th century. It is approximately 40 kms from Gyalshing in West Sikkim.
Constructed in 1700, the monastery is located on a hilltop near Yuksum. The monastery was built during the power of Chogyar Namgyal, and was also known as Hermit's Cell.
Built during the period of Chogyal Thutob Namgyal, this monastery is located in south Sikkim in Kewzing village, a village where most Bhutias live. Various periodical ceremonies are celebrated here throughout the year.
This monastery is also situated near to kewzing, and was built in 1840.
Situated at Yangyang (South Sikkim), this monastery was built in 1840.
Built during the supremacy of Chogyal Gurmed Namgyal, Namchi Monastery is located in Namchi.
Chawang Ani Monastery:
Located near the Phensang on the highway between Gangtok and Mangan, this monastery was constructed during Chogyal Gurmed Namgyal period.
Constructed during the supremacy of Chogyal Gurmed Namgyal, Khatok Monastery is located near Pakyong in East Sikkim.
This monastery belongs to the Nyingma sect and is located above Singtam in South Sikkim. It was constructed in 1952.
Lachung Monastery was constructed in 1880 and is in North Sikkim.
This North Sikkim based monastery was built in 1806.
This monastery is near to the Singtam town.
Established in 1912, this monastery is situated in a village Sang near Rumtek monastry.