MONASTERIES OF SIKKIM

Dubdi


1. DUBDI
It means "The Retreat". It is the first monastery built in Sikkim in 1701 and is located on a hill-top, 3 kms. trek from Yuksom.

2. TASHIDING
Built in 1717 by Ngadak Sempa Chembo (one of the three lamas who coronated the king) belonging to the Nyingmapa sect. It is nestled on a rooftop between the Rangit and Rathong rivers and is surrounded by a profusion of prayer flags. It is a 45 minutes hike up from Tashiding village (West Sikkim) The Bumchu festival is held here in the month of January.

Pemayangtse3. PEMAYANGTSE

"The perfect sublime lotus" is one of the state's most important monastery of the Nyingmapa order and was built around the seventeenth century by Latseen Chembo (one of the three lamas who coronated the king). It is a three storied structure filled with wall paintings, sculptures and antiques. On the third floor there is the Zandog Phalri - an amazing seven tiered painted wooden model of the abode of Guru Rimpoche, complete with rainbows, angles and whole panoply of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. The model was built single handedly by the late Dugzin Rimpoche in five years. In February each year the Chaam or Masked Dance is performed by the monks.

4. SANGACHOELING
A 45 minutes walk, west from Pelling, past the helipad and through the forest, leads to Sangachoeling Monastery. It is the second oldest monastery in Sikkim and has a magical position high on a ridge.

5. PHODONGPhodong
About 40 Kms. North of Gangtok is the monastery belonging to the Kargyupa sect. After the 16th Karmapa fled from Tibet and before he established himself at Rumtek in 1959. Phondong was the most important of Sikkim's three Kargyupa monasteries. Phodong is a fairly recent structure though the original one was founded in 1740. The main puja is performed on the 28th and 29th day of the tenth month of the Tibetan Calendar.

6. PHENSANG
The place is situated on the gentle slope stretching form kabi to Phodong with perhaps one of the best landscapes in the region.The Phengsong Monastery, under the Nyingmapa Buddhist Order, was built in 1721 during the time of Jigme Pawo.It was gutted by fire in 1947 and rebuilt in 1948 through the efforts of the Lamas. The annual festival of Chamm is performed on the 29th and the 28th days of the tenth month of Lunar calendar (Tibetan Calendar).

7. LABRANG
A kilometer uphill from Phodong is the Labrang monastery established in 1844 belonging to the Nyingmapa order.

8. LACHEN
Situated in North Sikkim is a small village belonging to the Nyingmapa sect, built in 1806.Lachung

9. LANCHUNG
Perched on a hill-top surrounded by apple orchards in the quaint Bhutia village of Lachung is the beautiful monastery of Lanchung. It belongs to the Nyingmapa sect and was built in 1880.

Enchey10. ENCHEY
2 kms. away from the main Gangtok town, near the Telecom tower is Enchey monastery. Lama Druptob Karpo is said to have flown in here from Mainam Hill more than 200 years ago and he built a small hermitage at this spot. In 1901 during the reign of Sidkong Tulku, a monastery was built in the from of a Chinese Pagoda. It follows the Nyingmapa order. The main puja is held here on the 18th and 19th of the 12th month of the Tibetan Calendar.

11. RUMTEK
24 Kms. away from Gangtok is the huge and wealthy monastery of Rumtek. It is the seat of the Gyolwa Karmapa, the head of the Kagyupa order of Tibetan Buddhism. The order was founded in the 11th Rumtekcentury by Lama Marpa, the disciple of Indian Guru Naropa. It was built in 1960 and is said that the 1st Karmapa spent many years meditating in a cave and ten thousand fairies came to congratulate him and each offered a strand of her hair. These strands of hair were woven into a black hat which was passed down and is still worn by the Karmapas on ceremonial occasions. Behind the main monastery is the Nalanda Institute of Buddhist Studies and the building opposite to it is a small hall featuring a beautiful jewel studded Chorten, which contains the ashes and bones of the 16th Gyolwa Karmapa. The religious dance called the Tse-chu is performed on the 10th day of the 5th lunar month (May) and depicts events in Guru Rimpoches' life. A Chaam, representing the battle between good and evil, takes place two days before the Tibetan New Year (around late February or early March). A few meters away is an aviary which boasts of a collection of the most exotic of birds. Half a kilometer uphill from the aviary is a hermitage in which monks go into complete seclusion and can meditate for a period up to 3 years.

12. RALONG
It is situated towards the north of Rabongla and is 45 minutes' drive from it. It is one of the oldest monasteries in Sikkim, belonging to the Kagyupa sect. The annual dance ritual and fair is held every year in the month of December during ' Lossong ' Festival.