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Monasteries in Sikkim

The secluded green valleys of Sikkim are cuddled in the lap of the Himalayas. As soon as one lands in Sikkim, they get the feeling of walking on the green carpets, floating clouds, gigantic mountains, and seamless paths dotted with colorful Tibetan prayer flags. Feast your eyes on the golden hues of Kanchenzdonga while you discover splendid waterfalls, sacred lakes, picturesque village scenes and sequestered monasteries.

The monasteries in Sikkim can soothe one's soul with every bit of spirituality. Some of the famous monasteries in Sikkim are Pemayangtse Monastery, Rumtek Monastery, Enchey Monastery, Phensang Monastery, Phodang Monastery, Tashiding Monastery, Sanga Chelling Monastery, etc. As per the latest report, there are more than 200 monasteries in Sikkim and most them pass under the judgement of the Nyingma and Kagyu which not only influences cultural heritage but lifestyle of the people as well. It also demonstrates about the ancient rituals and rules which are in vogue.

Monks dressed in red robes, chanting hymns to the rhythm of drums and trumpets while soft lights flicker from decorative lamps placed before statues of the great Guru Padmasambhava. One can feel the peace and closeness to the almighty at this place as the sacred words mingle with the whirring prayer wheels. The exteriors of the monasteries are adorned with the religious Gompas. One can see that the Gompas are decorated with 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. Perched on a hill top above Gangtok, these monasteries are rare sites.

Interesting facts about monastery in Sikkim:

  • Seat of the Gyalwa Karmapa, head of the 900-year-old Karma Kagyu lineage, demonstrates the best of Tibetan architecture and is an almost replica of Tsurphu monastery. It houses some of the rarest Buddhist religious art objects, the priceless Black Hat (Vajra Mukut) studded with rubies, diamonds, gold and other precious stone, etc,. The Vajra Mukut was presented to the fifth Karmapa by Emperor Yung Lo of China in the fifteenth century.
  • Labrang Monastery, overlooking Tumlong Palace Ruins (Sikkim’s third capital) and Phodong Monastery in North Sikkim is known for its unique octagonal architectural feature called ‘Rinchen Surgay’. A research centre cum monastery ‘Karma Thekchenling Donkun Duppai Gatsal Manastery’ in Rabongla, South Sikkim has also been built on the same style.
  • The monks of Enchey Monastery are known for to showcase Sinji Chaam in every three years.
  • Sikkim has more than two hundred monasteries, temples, churches, mosques and gurudwaras
  • Bhum Chu, the annual holy water ceremony that prognosticates the future of the State, takes place in Tashiding monastery, one of the most sacred monasteries in Sikkim.

Popular Monasteries in Sikkim

Other Monasteries in Sikkim

Khecheopalri Monastery Located, right above the lake, Khecheopalri Monastery is perched on the top of the hill, and offers a spectacular view of the mountains. As per the history, the monastery was built by the first Khechok Rinpoche.

Sinon Monastery Located at a distance of 10 km from Tashiding in Lepcha Village, Sinon Monastery was said to be built in 1716 on a hilltop by Gyalwa Ngadak Semchenpo during the reign of Chogyal Phuntsog Namgya. The literal meaning of Sinon is "the suppressor of intense fear."

Dalling Monastery The literal meaning of "Dalling" is "the thunderbolt" and it completely compliments with the architecture of the monastery. The monastery was said to be built in 1840 and is situated near to Kewzing.

Yangyang Monastery Built in 1840, Yangyang monastery is a picturesque sight which offers spectacular views of mountain ranges. Literal meaning of Yangyang is 'the ridge of fortune', and is situated at a distance of 10 km downhill from Rabongla. The Monastery is a beehive of activity as many important festivals of the Sikkim religious calendar are celebrated here.

Namchi Monastery: Perched on the top of small town Namchi, the monastery houses some of the best paintings, and artwork of local artisans.

Kwezing Monastery Located in Kwezig in southern Sikkim, the monastery was built under the reign of Chogyal Thutob Namgyal.

Simik Monastery The Simik monastery offers a panoramic view of the hills; it was built during the reign of Chogyal Tsudphud Namgyal.

Hee Gyathang Monastery The monastery follows the governance of Nyingmapa Sect. Hee Gyathang Monastery has been relocated many times. Ultimately, after a unanimous decision of all the lamas, the monastery shifted their sanctified palace in 1914 AD and gave a religious name, 'Tashi Choling Gon.' Every year, the monastery hosts all the periodical festivals along with the annual mask dance.

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 and Mangan. It was built during the reign of Chogyal Tshudphud Namgyal .

Rhenock Monastery If one is looking for internal peace then Rhenock monastery is the place to be. The monastery is located at a distance of 63 km from Gangtok.

Khatok Monastery One of the six principal Nyingma monasteries, Khatok monastery is considered as the main lineage of Tibetian Buddhism. The monastery houses the finest collection of scholars and, as per facts before one of Tibet by the Chinese in 1951 more than 800 monks used to reside in the monastery. This monastery is located in East Sikkim near peaking. 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.

Lachung Monastery Lachung monastery is a beautiful hermitage site situated in the Lachen Valley of North Sikkim. The monastery is perched at an elevation of 2750 and is considered as a base camp for major trekking and mountaineering activities. It was built in 1806 and belongs to the Nyingmapa sect of Mahayana Buddhism. It was reconstructed once in 1979. The monastery is store house of many statues, paintings, idols, amongst them the statue of Guru Padmasambhava or Guru Rinpochi is considered as the major belief.

Sang Monastery Sang monastery is one of the oldest monasteries in Sikkim, and was built in 1912 AD by Sang Athing, a landowner. In the monastery interiors, tourists can see the hand impression of Phaya Lama, one of the great teachers of Sang monastery.