Sikkim – the land of astounding natural beauty, interesting culture and food, is a charming place for all type of travellers around the world. Blessed with the captivating vistas of Mt. Kanchendzonga in the backdrop, this Himalayan state is located in the most beautiful part of India i.e. North-East. Free from pollution, Sikkim is no doubt a perfect location for a leisure-filled holiday with you close ones amidst fresh air and clear sky.
Decorated with mesmerizing views of snow-clad Himalayas peaks and pleasant weather, Sikkim capital city Gangtok is endowed with gorgeous and vibrant Tibetan monasteries. This hill retreat is highly influenced by Buddhist culture and therefore it offers a buffet of Buddhist gompas to visit.
So, we have listed down few amazing monasteries in Gangtok that you must visit when a planning a holiday to this beautiful North-Eastern state of India.
- Rumtek Monastery – One of the largest Tibetan monastery in Gangtok, Rumtek Monastery is situated on a hill and thus makes an attractive place to visit. This highly revered site in Sikkim is also known as Dharma Chakra Centre and belongs to the Kargyu community of Buddhism. From the hilltop, you will be mesmerized by the captivating beauty of verdant green mountains and fresh air. Rumtek Monastery is constructed beautifully and thus one of the finest in the world. Devotees and Buddhist monks perform kora (means a circuit) around the monastery. Another major highlight of this monastery in Gangtok is that it houses a golden stupa and some other world’s unique religious scriptures.
- Pemayangtse Monastery – Overlooking at the heritage Rabdentse ruins (the former capital of Sikkim), Pemayangtse Monastery is dedicated to Padmasambhava and nestled on a hilltop. The term Permayangste means ‘perfect sublime lotus’.The spiritual chants of the monks and bells fill the atmosphere of the monastery with divinity and purity. The major highlight of this Tibetan monastery in Gangtok is that there are statues of Padmasambhava and his consorts. Pemayangtse Monastery is set in the picturesque environment and also attends to the Nyingma order of Tibetan Buddhism.
- Ranka Monastery – Situated around 20 kms from Gangtok, Ranka Monastery is another popular Tibetan holy site in Sikkim. Blessed with attractive architecture and aesthetics, this monastery is the seat of Zurmang Charwang Rimpoche. The walls of Ranka Monastery is decorated with colorful painting known as Thangkas. Inside the monastery, a huge gold plated idol of Lord Buddha sits in a lotus. Visit Ranka Monastery and get rejuvenated in the tranquil environment. The best time to visit this Buddhist monastery in Sikkim is during the Tibetan New Year when a cultural dance is performed by the monks.
- Enchey Monastery – Built in 1909, Enchey Monastery is positioned is 1 km from White Hall and just next to the TV Tower. This Tibetan monastery in Gangtok is believed to be 200 years old and blessed by the holiness of Lama Druptab Karpo. Enchey Monastery belongs to the Nyingma community of Buddhism and designed in China Pagoda style during the reign of Sikyong Tulku. The walls of the monastery and prayer hall is decorated with stunning and colorful paintings. Being the residing place of deities like Khangchendzonga and Yabdean, this monastery is highly revered in entire Sikkim. A golden cupola is placed on the top of Enchey Monastery and is home to around 90 Buddhist monks. Plan to visit sacred gompa in Gangtok especially during Cham Dance festival organized here annually.
- Phensong Monastery – Phensong Monastery was constructed in 1721 during the reign of Jigme Pawo. One of the most sacred place in Sikkim, this beautiful monastery is situated on an uphill and is large in size. Phensong Monastery has faced various problems in past like damage due to heavy rains and fire breakouts. But, with the help of government aid and support the monastery was rebuilt after 1983. Currently, this religious Buddhist site in Gangtok is home to around 300 monks. The best time to visit Phensong Monastery is during Sikkimese New Year when a special dance is performed by the monks.
- Tashiding Monastery – Dating back to 1641, Tashiding Monastery is located on a hill between two rivers namely Rangit and Rathong. The picturesque location of this peaceful Buddhist monastery in Gangtok will take your breath away. Tashiding Monastery belongs to Nyingma sect of Buddhism and was renovated during the kingdom of third Chogyal Chakdor Namgya. The Tibetan monastery is encircled by traditional buildings, chortend and mani.
One of the most gorgeous hill retreats in North-East India, Gangtok is truly a perfect travel destination where natural beauty, urbanization, and culture mingle with each other in the best possible way. If you are looking out to take a break from the city life and seek peace, then plan a holiday to Gangtok in Sikkim and pay homage at these holy Tibetan monasteries.
Want to experience this beautiful land like a true traveler? Check out our epic Sikkim road trip itinerary here.
Contributed By: Sahil Singh