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! Monastery in Sikkim
Sikkim's 194 monasteries or gompas belonging
to the Nyingma and Kagyu order have not only
been influencing the cultural heritage
and lifestyle of the people but also demonstrate
the ancient rituals in practise.
Devoted Lamas robed in red, chant ancient mantras
to the rhythm of drums and trumpets while soft
lights flicker from decorative lamps placed
before statues of the great Guru Padmasambhava.
Feel the peace and quiet of being one with nature
and close to the almighty as sacred words mingle
with the shirring prayer wheels.
The gompas are adorned with life-like frecoes
of hoary Buddhist legends, rare silk
and brocade thangkas. Also preserved here, are
ancient tibetan manuscripts, exquisitely
carved wood work and icons of silver and gold.
24 kms from Gangtok, a drive through
beautiful countryside takes one hour to Rumtek
Dharma Chakra Centre built in 1960's by
His Holiness the late 16th Gyalwa Karmapa
when he took refuge in Sikkim after the Chinese
attack. It is an excellent replica of the original
Kagyu headquarters in Tibet. It houses some
of the world's most unique art objects, ancient
manuscripts and icons. About 2 kms away from
Dharma Chakra Centre is the recently
rebuilt 300 year old Rumtek Monastery
which was originally built by the fourth chogyal.
His Holiness late Gyalwa Karmapa lived
in this monastery till the completion of the
Rumtek Dharma Chakra Centre.
Today it is the residence of His Hiliness and
the headquarters of the Dharma Chakra Religious
Centre. The annual dances are held here
on the 28th and 29th day of the tenth month
of the lunar calendar.
PEMAYANGTSE 'THE LOTUS SUBLIME:
118 kms (via Rabongla) from Gangtok, Founded
during the reign of Chador Namgyal the third
Chogyal in 1705 and perched at a height of 2085
mts, it is the second oldest and perhaps the
most important monastery in Sikkim. Pemayangtse
belongs to the Nyingma order and all other Nyingma
monasteries in Sikkim are subordinate to
it. The 108 monks living here are from the Bhutia
families of Sikkim.
The monastery contains numerous antique idols
and object of worship. The top wooden structure
depicting the Mahaguru's Paradise Sangthokpelri
was completed in five years, single handedly
by the late Dungzin Rinpoche.
A unique event is held on the 28th and 29th
day of the 12th month of the Tibetan lunar
calendar. Dressed in costumes of rare magnificance,
the Lamas represent Mahakala and Guru Drag-dmar.
The dance ends on the third day with the unfurling
of the 'Ghyo-ku' - a gigantic embroidered Buddhist
scroll as the devotees bend down in homage.
Pemayangtse is an excellent base for
all trekking expeditions in the western
region, offering a number of unfrequented trails
through some of the most spectacular mountain
Built in 1721 during the time of Jigme Pawo,
it was gutted by a fire in 1947, and rebuilt
in 1948 through the efforts of the lamas. There
are 300 monks in this monastery and the
main annual function is held here on the 28th
and 29th days of the tenth month of the lunar
28 kms from Gangtok The original monastery
has been rebuilt and like Ralong and Rumtek
the main annual puja is performed here on
the 28th and 29th days of the tenth month of
the lunar calendar with religious dances
being the main attraction.
Belonging to the Karma Kagyu order, it
was built after the return of the fourth Chogyal
from his pilgrimage to Tibet. H.H. the
Gyalwa Karmapa performed the 'Rabney
(blessing on its completion from Tsurphu itself,
and grains from this ceremony fell on the ground
at Ralong. Between 1975-81 A.D. the government
rebuilt the monastery which today has around
100 monks. The main ceremony falls on the 28th
and 29th day of the tenth month of the lunar
calendar, when the 'chaams' are performed.
ENCHHEY: Lama Drupthob Karpo is supposed to have
built a small hermitage at the spot he reached
after he flew from Maynam Hill in South
Sikkim. Later during the reign of Sikyong
Tulku 1909 - 1910 the present monastery
was built in the shape of a Chinese pagoda.
Following the Byingma Order, it has around 90
monks. The annula puja is celebrated with dances
on the 18th and 19th days of the twelfth month
of the lunar calendar.
It is built on top of a hill between rangit
and Ratong rivers, where a rainbow emanating
from Mount Khangchendzonga came to an
end. The main monastery was built by Pedi Wangmo
during the reign of Chakdar Namgyalin 1716
A.D. The sacred objects of worship in Tashiding
are the chorten Thongwa Rangdol and Bumchu
(holy water). The chorten was built by Lhatsun
Chenpo and it is believed that merely to
view the chorten is enough to cleanse one of
Bumchu is a sacred pot containing holy water
which does not dry up nor spoil and continues
to have a fresh smell even 300 years later.
The sacred Bumpa containing the water is opened
for public darshan once a year on the 15th day
of the first Tibetan month.
35 kms from Pemayangtse. The sacred spot
of Yuksam is nestled in a pine forested
area with crystal clear mountain lakes.
A stupa marks the spot where three lamas performed
the consecration cremony of the first ruling
monarch of Sikkim.