Sikkim hosts some of the best Buddhist monasteries. These monasteries are spread far and wide in Sikkim and truly display the cultural heritage that has been practised in Sikkim since centuries. All the homestay destinations are near some of the oldest Buddhist monasteries and visits to these monasteries can be an enduring and an enriching experience.
Red robed lamas enchanting sacred mantras, drums and trumpets blowing wildly in the background, prayer wheels whirring vibrantly and white lights flickering from decorative lamps is a not only a ritualistic presentation but is also a true picture of a rich cultural heritage and religious lifestyle of the people of Sikkim which is closely interwoven with the monastery culture. There are about 200 monasteries or Gompas of Nyingma and Kagyu order in Sikkim. Guru Padmasambhava is the preseiding deity at all the monasteries.
Adorned with life-like frescoes of hoary Buddhist legends, these Gompas and monasteries offer a unique opportunity of being one with the nature to people. A rare closeness to the Providence is felt here. These monasteries also serve as a store house of ancient Tibetan manuscripts, exquisitely carved wood work and icons of silver and gold.
Some of the major monasteries in Sikkim include-
Pemayangtse Monastery – Located at a distance of 140 kms from the capital city, this monastery is at Gyalshing in West Sikkim. Apart from its religious significance, the monastery is also well known for its scenic location.
Rumtek Monastery – A half an hour’s drive through the beautiful landscapes and mountains will take one to the monastery.
Enchey Monastery – A 200 year old structure situated in Gangtok on a hill top blessed by Lama Druptob Karpo, a tantric master known for his flying powers is known as Enchey Monastery.
Phodong Monastery – Home to around 260 monks, the most beautiful monastery in Sikkim is the Phodong Monastery. 28 kms from Gangtok, in the Northern region of the state.
Tashiding Monastery – Nestled on a hilltop looming between the Rathong and the Rangit rivers, the Tashiding Monastery is around 40 kms from Gyalshing by road.