Sikkim is one of the most stunning states in the Indian subcontinent. The jaw-dropping snow covered mountains, the royal flora and fauna, huge lakes and water springs, the eminent apple orchards and an amazing culture. The dramatic landscape and the mighty mountainous region of the world’s third-biggest mountain range- Kanchenjunga, enhances the staggering beauty of this place. The state is home to Hindus and Buddhists and beholds some of the greatest Buddhist monasteries. The major attraction is in the capital city of Sikkim, Gangtok.
Buddhist pilgrimage in Gangtok
Gangtok is known as ‘the gateway of Sikkim’. The place holds some really marvelous sights of the Kanchenjunga peak. There are many huge lakes and zoological parks in the city. The Nathu La Pass, which is around 4310 meters high, is the highest point in the world to drive a motor vehicle. Besides the natural beauty, Gangtok is home to some of the most beautiful Buddhist monasteries ever seen.
The Enchey Monastery: The Enchey Monastery means ‘the solitary temple’. Built by the Nyingma people in 1909, it is believed to be blessed by Lama Dhrupthob Karpo, a saint that people said possessed flying powers. The place is located just 3 km from Gangtok city. It is a 2-storey structure that has some shells, which are considered religious Buddhist symbols. The place has many murals and a ‘wheel of law’ on the porch. The best time to visit the place is during the ‘Chaam’ which is a masked dance help in January. The dancers wear vibrant and colorful dresses and costumes which light up the whole place.
The Pemayangtse Monastery: It is one of the oldest and the most famous Buddhist monastery located in Sikkim. It is just a 3-hour drive from Gangtok city. As the monastery is located at an elevation of 6841 feet, it gives some of the most jaw dropping views of the Himalayan range. It is a 3-storey building which has a wooden model of Guru Rimpoche on the top floor. Other than that, the whole place has many paintings and sculptures, and it is an architectural masterpiece.
Rumtek Monastery: Just 23kms from the Gangtok city lies a shrine for the Tibetan Buddhists. The place is majorly known for the praying place inside the monastery, which is very beautifully decorated with unique artifacts, murals and masterpieces of statues. The place is surrounded with green hills and various waterfalls. Rumtek Monastery is one of the most important pilgrim place in Sikkim.
Lingdum Monastery: It is a pilgrim center which is under the spiritual guidance of the 12th successor of the Kagyu Sect, Zurmang Gharwang Rinpoche. It is just an hours’ drive from Gangtok, with beauty all over the place. The architectural genius includes pagoda roofs, finials and parasols. A 5-meter-high Lord Buddha statue is made intricately. There is a retreat center behind the monastery where the monks go to meditate.
These places are somewhere you should visit whether you are a Buddhist or not. The calmness, architecture and the spiritual peace one gets when they visit this place, cannot be matched anywhere else. So, instead of just going for lakes and national parks, visit these places to rejuvenate and refresh your inner self.