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Monasteries of Sikkim

by Nomad Saikat faviconNomad Saikat
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Monasteries of Sikkim

Sikkim as a land deserves extra attention for the harmonious existence of different cultures and how it all coexists in peace. Amongst other things in Sikkim that deserves special mentions are the numbers of Buddhist Monasteries present there. Many of these monasteries of Sikkim are ancient and date back to 17th and 18th century. Furthermore what deserves special attention is how these monasteries of Sikkim are still standing tall with their glory, pride, elegance, beauty and charm.

Battling extreme weather conditions, change of the environment and various other social conditions these monasteries are the finest examples of how tough they are. From their architecture to the history attached to it, these monasteries are seen echoing the holy chants that are enough to bring in some peace.

 Also you can find so many of them parched on top of the mountains and hills carrying forward the legacy. If you are ever visiting Sikkim if there can be one thing that you cannot miss out on, it is the monasteries there. Keep on reading this article as I will be mentioning some of the best monasteries in Sikkim that you can visit. In this article I will mention everything about the Sikkim monasteries that you need to know before planning a trip there. So keep on reading the article.

Best Monasteries of Sikkim

Dubdi Monastery

Dating all the way back to 1701, this monastery is one of the oldest monasteries in Sikkim. While talking about the Monasteries of Sikkim we must mention the Dubdi Monastery located on top of a hilltop. A branch of Tibetan Buddhism, this monastery is surrounded by mountainous terrain.

Furthermore one of the most alluring parts of this monastery is the majestic sculptures standing on top of 6900 meters. These sculptures depict three lamas and hold a lot of relevance. It is a two story stone construction that looks majestic with its enchanting backdrop. You can notice a bell shaped building known as Gyalshen on the roof of this monastery which is one of the notable features here.

How to reach Dubdi Monastery

You can avail a shared ride on a jeep or a public bus from Peling or Geyzing to reach Yuksom which is around 3 miles away from this monastery. It would take around 2 hours to reach the monastery from there. Furthermore you can also hire a cab to reach the location. If you are travelling by air then the nearest airport is Bagdogra. You can even travel from Siliguri as well. It would not be an issue to reach here from Bagdogra or Siliguri as these are well connected locations.

Nearby places to visit from Dubdi Monastery

You can also visit the Kartok Monastery, Norbugang Chorten, Tashiding Monastery, Tashi Tenka, Khangchendzonga National Park etc nearby.

Enchey Monastery

This is one monastery in Sikkim which is almost two centuries old. Yes this monastery of Sikkim is surviving for more than 200 years now and is still standing tall in its glory. Located 3 km northeast from Gangtok this monastery is a part of the Vajrayana Nyingma Buddhist school of thought. Furthermore the word Enchey means Solitary and with the position of this monastery the name is fully justified. This monastery stands amidst beautiful nature which elevates the beauty of this place even more.

 Annually this monastery holds a special prayer between January to February in the lunar months in accordance with the Tibetan calendar. This prayer also includes a special religious dance performance known as Chaam. It is a dance performance that the performers perform wearing masks and is attended by a lot of people. If you are ever visiting Sikkim around this time make sure you are a part of this lunar month festival. It is one of the best 5 monasteries in Sikkim for sure that you should visit while exploring the monasteries of Sikkim.

Timings: 6 am to 4 pm

How to reach Enchey Monastery

From Gangtok you can take a car to reach the monastery in 10 minutes.

Rumtek Monastery

Located in the East Sikkim district almost around 24 km away from Gangtok, this monastery is the largest monastery in Sikkim. Also known as the Dharmachakra Centre, this monastery is from the Karma Kagyu schools of Buddhism. Founded in 20th century by Rangjun Rigpe Dorje the 16th Karmapa, this monastery houses more than 500 monks. Furthermore, other than being a beautiful architecture, the largest monastery is also one of the important learning centers for Buddhism in Sikkim as well. One of the important features of this monastery are the vantage points here from where you can witness beautiful sights of the whole Gangtok town.

However to reach the monastery, one needs to walk uphill from the gate at the base, for about half a kilometer to reach up to the monastery. This beautiful monastery is a three storied structure located amidst the mountains within a breathtaking landscape. It is one of the monasteries of Sikkim that you should not miss visiting.

How to reach the Rumtek Monastery

You can reach the monastery from Gangtok via a shared ride or you can also hire a car. Bus services are also available here that can take you to the monastery as well.

Nearby places to visit from the Rumtek Monastery

Botanical Garden

Kartok Monastery

This monastery is one of the best monasteries of Sikkim with a beautiful picturesque structure. Located across Kartok Lake this monastery of Sikkim is considered as the pride of Yuksom. With red architecture and yellow designs on it, the monastery looks splendid. Furthermore you can notice the heavily inspired Tibetan architecture in the formation of the monastery. While in Yuksom most of the people visit the Dubdi Monastery and Kartok Monastery together and they are one of the most popular tourist places in Sikkim as well.

Overall this monastery is like a haven of natural beauty. With the Kartok Lake, pretty exterior of the monastery, fluttering colored flags, slow chanting and mesmerizing nature outshining in the backdrop, it can be one of the surreal sights to witness in Sikkim. One of the special attractions here is also the fossils near the lake.

How to reach Kartok Monastery

This monastery is located in Yuksom and you can reach here from places like Pelling, Geyzing, Siliguri or Bagdogra.

Nearby places to visit from Kartok Monastery

Stunning view of Kartok Lake

Lingdum Monastery

Located 20 km away from Gangtok, this monastery is situated in east Sikkim. This is one of the most well known and popular monasteries of Sikkim as this monastery has been a favourite shooting spot for many Bollywood filmmakers. However this monastery is also one of the newest monasteries of Sikkim that was completed in 1998. Furthermore also known as the Ranka Monastery the picturesque exterior of the monastery and the stunning backdrop around makes it one of the popular spots for tourists as well. For spending some quiet time this location can be just perfect.

Surrounded by forest and mountains on all sides this place is like a photographer’s paradise. You can find beauty at every corner here so if you have an eye for photography then this place can be your muse. Furthermore there are beautiful rolling wheels near the parking lot of this monastery that attracts a lot of attention. Another special feature of this monastery is the Mask Dance Festival known as Losar that is celebrated here during the Tibetan New Year. A lot of people attend the festival each year. If you are visiting Sikkim during that time make sure you are attending this festival here.

How to reach Lingdum Monastery

From the city centre you can hire a car to reach this monastery.

Nearby places to visit from Lingdum Monastery

You can visit the Rumtek Monastery, Banjhakri Waterfall nearby.

Pemayangtse Monastery

Another oldest monastery in Sikkim, the Pemayangtse Monastery is a 300 year old monastery. Also it is one of the popular tourist spots in Sikkim. Pemayangtse means Perfect Sublime Lotus and it very well looks like this as well. Under the blue sky the monastery and its beautiful architecture outshines everything else around. Furthermore the interior of the monastery is designed following the Tibetan style. You can witness various patterns inspired by Tibetan architecture on the walls and pillars. On the backdrop of beautiful mountains amidst greenery the structure stands out in its all encompassing elegance. It is surely a sight to behold. While exploring the monasteries of Sikkim you simply cannot miss out on visiting this beautiful monastery.

How to reach Pemayangtse Monastery

You can get direct taxis from Pelling and Gangtok and reach the monastery which is around 110 km away.

Wrapping Up!

On the lap of the captivating mountains Sikkim is one of the most picturesque locations in North East India. With its diversified culture, faiths, beliefs, lifestyle, cuisines and tourist places. It is considered as one of the most versatile states to visit. Furthermore the Buddhist monasteries of Sikkim add on to its rich culture. These monasteries are not just pretty spots to visit but you can also learn and get a lot of insight about Buddhism, Tibet and the culture of Sikkim in general. The monasteries in Sikkim are an integral part of the state and there are more than 100 monasteries here enriching the land.

Furthermore these monasteries play a very significant role in the religious, cultural and social history of Sikkim along with being a big part of its present relevance. So whenever you are visiting Sikkim you must explore the Sikkim monasteries. I have mentioned some of the most relevant, popular and important monasteries of Sikkim here. Do let me know if this article was helpful for you in planning a trip to these monasteries in Sikkim.

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