The north-eastern state of Sikkim is one of the most beautiful states of India. Added as the 22nd state to the Republic of India, Sikkim was once ruled by the royal family of Sikkim. Sikkim is home to the world’s third-highest mountain peak – Mt Kanchenjunga. The stunning Himalayan mountain, ecstatic cultural diversity, organic living, atmospheric calmness, and close-to-nature surroundings bring travelers from around the world to this stunning state. Buddhist Monasteries of Sikkim nestled on the hilltop of mountains are homes for spirituality that drive a lot of travelers to unleash the stress of their city lives.
The stunning architecture, colorful interiors, prayer chants and serene silence of these Buddhist monasteries of Sikkim is an overwhelming experience. While some have become a center of learning for the children, others are dedicated to prayers and chanting of Lord Buddha. Here are some truly revering monasteries with the most beautiful architecture in Sikkim!
One of the largest and most important monasteries in India – the Rumtek Monastery is at a distance of 25kms from the Gangtok city. Celebrating the Tibetan culture in its design and outlook, this beautiful monastery was built in 1960 as a seat of the Karma Kagyu Lineage. Ever since the 12th Karmapa reached Rumtek Monastery after leaving his Tibet Seat, this monastery has become a religious activity center of the Buddhist and is also called by the name Dharmachakra Center. At any point of time, the monastery if full of learners and people chanting in its arena which makes the visit quite serene and connecting. With lush greenery on the background, the colorful appearance of the monastery invigorates the eyes and is a pleasant experience.
Overlooking the large snow-capped mountains of Sikkim, the Lachung Monastery is located at the Indo-Tibetan Border village of Lachung. Built-in 1880 at an elevation of 3000 meters over the convergence of two tributaries of Teesta River i.e. Lachung and Lachen, this monastery in north Sikkim belongs to Nyingma sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Holding a quaint presence in the silent surroundings of the hills, the monastery is popular for its Buddhism prayers and activities that keep ringing in the air of the place. With colorful flags, Tibetan architecture, and picturesque beauty, the monastery is a stunning visit at about 118 km from Gangtok. One of the popular traditional mask dance performance is held every year at Lachung Monastery.
One of the newest additions to Sikkim Monasteries – the Ralang Monastery is one of the biggest monasteries in Sikkim made with the intricate art of Tibetan architecture. A short ride away from Ravangla (South Sikkim), this monastery combines the traditional values of Buddhism by following the Tibetan Buddhist Traditions and brings along a stunning beauty of the colorful exterior. With Mountains on the background and colorful Tibetan architecture on the front decorated with Tibetan flags, Sikkim Tourism is incomplete without visiting this monastery as it is known for its extensive collection of paintings, and thangkas. Owned by Kagyu Sect of Tibetan Buddhism, the monastery is known to hold an annual festival Pang Lhabsol where the Kagyed Dance is performed by the Buddhist monks. It is one of the popular tourist destinations to visit in Sikkim.
An important religious center on the hilltop of Peiling, the Permayangtse Monastery is located at an elevation of 2085 meters. Holding to the beauty of its 300-year-old structure, the monastery is in the highlight of golden and white with stunning Tibetan art and architecture. The pillars are inscribed with ancient manuscripts and the whole interior is a woodwork art making it a serene and blissful experience. The arena is also covered with Buddhist flags and greenery. While the monastery celebrates Buddhism faith and breathes into silent nuances of the Tibetan prayers, it also offers a panoramic view of the whole valley with a peak of snow-capped Mount Kanchenjunga.
Built-in 1701 A.D. the Dubdi Monastery is one of the oldest monasteries of Sikkim. At a short distance of 3kms of the town Yuksam (West Sikkim), this monastery is located on a hilltop at an elevation of 6900 meters. The monastery is popular for its statues of the three lamas and close-to-nature beauty. Designed much in line with the Tibetan monasteries, the colorful structure with woodwork, intricate Tibetan scripts, colorful additions, and stone-carved statues is quite an enchanting visit. Being one of the oldest monasteries belonging to Nyingma Sect of Tibetan Buddhism, the monastery holds firm the beliefs of the Buddhist traditions and thus is quite a destination to know the Tibetan culture up close.
Being a part of the three monasteries build in the 1960s under the guidance of the 9th Karmapa of Karma Kagyu lineage, the Phodang Monastery with Rumtek and Ralang is one of the must-visits in Sikkim. The murals, relics, artifacts and artistic design of the monastery capture the essence of the old-age Tibetan cultures. The Phodang Monastery resonate beauty with its colorful but intricate architecture, wooden dome, and scripts from the Buddhism beliefs. It is one of the popular learning centers too.
Built by Ngadak Sempa Chempo Phunsok Rigzing and founded in 1616 the Tashiding Monastery is widely popular for its beauty and architecture. Ngadak was one of the three holy men said to hold the crowning ceremony of the first king of Sikkim. Today the monastery belongs to Nyingma Sect and is also one of the most pristine and stunning monasteries of Sikkim. On the top of a hill, the complex of Tashiding Monastery is known to have several Buddhist Shrines (Chortens) within the complex. The never-ending chants of the Tibetans here keep the surroundings filled with blissful vibrations making the experience of a visit to this monastery a truly satisfying one.
Sikkim being Buddhism inspired state experiences a lot of Tibetan architecture, and lifestyle. To connect with the life of Sikkim, and unleash in a serene surrounding these monasteries are a perfect getaway. Make the most of your vacay in Sikkim by spending a day learning the Buddhist Culture and traditions in one of these celebrated monasteries.
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