Buddhism has always been a part of Sikkim culture and Sikkim monasteries play a big role in influencing the lifestyle of the people. The monasteries here are important seats of spirituality and also speak volumes about the days gone by as can be seen from various wood carvings, tapestries and other objects that are often on display. On your Sikkim monastery tour, don’t forget to spend some time soaking in the splendor of these places of worship:
The word ‘Dubdi’ means a retreat and this famous monastery of the Nyingma sect is one of the oldest in Sikkim. Built in 1701, it is otherwise known as the Yuksom Monastery.This pilgrim center is well-known for its collection of paintings featuring different saints and for its ancient manuscripts. This monastery which lies on top of a hill can only be accessed by walking and takes about an hour to reach from Yuksom.
The meaning of the word ‘Enchey’ means solitude. Many Sikkim tourism packages feature this monastery which is an important place of worship for the Nyingma sect. This 200 year old monastery is situated in Gangtok and has many images of Gods, Goddesses as well as many religious objects too. One of the highlights of this monastery is the religious masked dance that is usually held in January.
Situated in the town of Pemayangtse, this is one of the oldest Sikkim monasteries here. In fact, it is said that Lama Lhatsun Chempo built this monastery as a shelter for ‘ta-sang’ lamas or purest of monks. Although this monastery was built in the 1700’s, the frescoes and statues here have withstood the test of time. Tourists are allowed to sit in the main prayer hall when monks partake in different ceremonies although it is important to maintain silence at all times. The view of the Kanchenjunga mountain from here is breath-taking.
This monastery situated on a hill between the Rathong River and the Rangit River offers a picturesque view of its lush green surroundings. The main temple of this monastery was renovated recently and there are many stone plates bearing inscriptions which can be seen here. The Bumchu Ceremony which is the annual festival celebrated here is held on the 14th and 15th day of the first month in the Tibetan calendar.
Not to be missed on your Sikkim monastery tour, the Rumtek Monastery is in Gangtok and is the largest monastery in Sikkim. Many rituals performed in accordance with Kagyu rites are held here by the monks. Many sacred objects are kept here including the Golden Stupa which contains the relics of His Holiness the 16th Karmapa. The large stone courtyard here is where many significant dances are performed to celebrate important days in the Tibetan calendar.