The Oldest Monasteries In Sikkim You Should Know About

The Oldest Monasteries In Sikkim You Should Know About

A monastery is a peaceful enclosure of ambiance which echoes with the soothing chants and prayers, which takes you a step closer to God.

Sikkim Monastery
Image Courtesy: www.trekkinginsikkim.com/sikkim-monasteries-tour.html

Besides the popular places to visit in Sikkim, the wonderful cultural atmosphere of Sikkim is also highlighted by the 200 monasteries which are scattered within the state. Each monastery has a history that it carries with it past decades. A monastery is locally known as ‘Gumba’ which also means solitary place. These old structures play a vital role in Sikkim’s cultural heritage as well as the lifestyle of the people here.

A unique fact about the monasteries here is that they shall be found facing the east direction so that the sun hits the front of the monastery after sunrise. There are many Sikkim holiday tour packages that cover most of the monasteries in Sikkim. Most of these cultural structures are situated in a little remote area away from the main city to maintain its ambiance and also to make it a great site for meditation. The monasteries in Sikkim are supposed to have libraries with old holy books which are of great cultural importance. A monastery is a perfect example of extraordinary sculptures and paintings like Thankas, Mandalas, images of Lord Buddha, masks as well as instrument.

Let us have a look at the history behind some of the oldest monasteries in Sikkim and the cultural and spiritual importance it holds within:

1. Rumtek Monastery – Also known as the Dharma Chakra Centre

Rumtek Monastery in sikkim
Image Courtesy: Wikipedia

The Rumtek monastery was built by Gyalwa Karmapa in 1960. He was the 16th Karmapa of the monastery who had settled here after the Chinese invaded Tibet. The monastery of Rumtek belongs to the Buddhist sect of Kargyu who had originated around the 12th century in Tibet. This place is one of the largest in Gangtok and showcases an excellent piece of art and architecture which is an exact copy of the original one in Tsurphu in Tibet.

When was it built: 1966

How to reach: 23 kilometers away from Gangtok and a half kilometer upward climb.

2. The Lachung Monastery – The word Lachung means “small mountain”

The Lachung Monastery in Sikkim
Image Courtesy: Wikipedia

It is a Nyingma Buddhist Gumba which is located in the valley of lacing. The monastery is small yet the colors it holds makes it very bright and colorful to look upon. It stands at an altitude of 9,600 ft at the confluence of rivers Lachen and Lachung. The monastery is famous for the traditional mask dance which is organized every year. The schedule of which can be checked through the official website of the monastery. The monastery is small yet a very beautiful Monastery.

When was it built: 1880

How to reach: 118 km away from Gangtok and around 6-7 hour drive till Lachung, in the north of Sikkim. Lachung is a place which is one of the residents are the original Sikkimese people who still follow the old Sikkimese traditions and rituals. The development has still not changed their religious approach to Life.

3. Phensang Monastery – Famous for sacred dance during the Sikkim’s New Year

Phensang Monastery in Sikkim
Image Courtesy: Wikipedia

This monastery is built at an uphill towards the north of Sikkim. It is said to be founded by the 3rd Lhatsun Jigmed Pawo. The monastery is home to around 300 monks of the Nyingmapa Buddhist order reside here in Phensang. The monastery has suffered damaged due to fire in 1947 which was repaired on the same year and in the year 1983 it was damaged by heavy rain but with the efforts of the government aid, the monastery was successfully rebuilt again to this present structure which is home to a lot of young monks.

When was it built: 1721

How to reach: Situated at a distance of 9 km towards the north of Gangtok.

4. Pemayangtse Monastery – A meditative environment among the woods

Pemayangtse Monastery in Pelling, Sikkim
Image Courtesy: www.tourmyindia.com

It is one of the oldest monasteries which boast of ancient manuscripts and scriptures in the pillars as well as halls of the monastery. You can also see some ruins of Rhapdentse which was the destroyed second capital of the ancient Sikkim Kingdom which is just left in some fragment scattered around Pelling. The beautiful locations around it provide the perfect view on sunny days.

When was it built: 1705

How to reach: It is situated 2 km away from Pelling and 110 kilometers from Gangtok.

5. Dubdi Monastery- whose name means “the retreat”

Dubdi Monastery Sikkim
Image Courtesy: templeadvisor.com

It is one of the most venerable monasteries of Sikkim which holds cultural treasures is also one of the oldest monasteries in Sikkim. It is also known to some as Yuksom Monastery. It can be also be titled as a Buddhist shrine which was built during the reign of Chogyal Namgyal in 1701 and so holds immense historical significance to it. The shrine is attached to the Nyingma sect of Tibetan Buddhist.

When was it built: 1701

How to reach: It is an hour walk from Yuksom through the natural stone pathways and some fine tall trees which make the scenery more beautiful.

6. Kartok monastery – With a perfect backdrop of snow-peaked mountains

Kartok Monastery Yuksom
Image Courtesy: www.nativeplanet.com

It is one of the most beautiful monasteries of Yuksom which is decorated on the outside by colorful prayer flags. The Kartok Lake near the monastery gives it an even better view to be enjoyed by the devotees who come here for pilgrimage and to pay homage to the Buddhist religious teachers. The red structure is designed with bright golden, yellow outlines and some Tibetan designs which make the monastery even more beautiful.

When was it built: 1641

How to reach: Around 123 kilometers away from Gangtok which is around 5-hour drive to finally reach here in Yuksom

7. Tashi Ding monastery – A beautiful attraction in West Sikkim

Tashi Ding Monastery Sikkim

The monastery is an example of attractive architecture and belongs to the Nyingmapa order and was built in the 17th century between the rivers Rangeet and Rathong. The fluttering prayer flags and some holy stupas surround the beautiful monastery and make it an important religious site for the Buddhist. The backdrop of the monastery provides a magical view of the snow-covered mountains, which makes the visit even more memorable and beautiful.

When was it built: 1717

How to reach: The monastery is around 100 kilometers away from Gangtok, located near Pelling. The monastery is about 30 kilometers away from Ravangla and around 19 km towards the south-east of Yuksam, in West Sikkim.

There is a wonderful saying by Lord Buddha,” We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves”.

Here we are being told to keep our minds clear and it’s thought healthy, as it affects the kind of person you shall become in days to come. These monasteries project a peaceful and soothing around themselves which is agreed by most who have visited a Gumba at least once in their life. They are a beautiful place to have some quiet and peaceful time with yourself and the ambiance that they surround. If you ever want to experience a peace of mind avoiding the daily tensions of your life, book yourself a ticket to Sikkim and experience serenity here.

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The Oldest Monasteries In Sikkim You Should Know About
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The Oldest Monasteries In Sikkim You Should Know About
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Visit the serenity of these 7 oldest monasteries in Sikkim. They will enrich you spiritually.
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Eastern India Holidays
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