Sikkim is a small state in northeast India but is one of the most beautiful. India’s highest mountain, Mount Kanchenjunga is in Sikkim. Sikkim is also a mystic land of the Buddhist monasteries. These Buddhist monasteries are spread all over Sikkim. They are not just famous tourist places in Sikkim, but also centers of Buddhist learning. They carry a legacy of traditional Buddhist teachings, passed on from generations. You will amaze to find out that there are more than 200 Buddhist monasteries in Sikkim alone. But some of these have become very famous for their scenic beauty and Buddhist culture that still thrives here. You can visit these monasteries when you book any of the Famous Sikkim Tour Packages or Sikkim Holiday Packages.
1. Rumtek Monastery
Rumtek Monastery is one of the most famous, and also one of the largest Buddhist monasteries in Sikkim. Wangchuk Dorje founded this monastery to spread the teachings of the Buddha to the world. He was the 9th Karmapa Lama and built Rumtek Monastery in the 16th century. Many Buddhist monks live in Rumtek Monastery. Dharma Chakra Centre is another name of Rumtek Monastery. The architecture of this gompa is spectacular and one of the best that you will see in Sikkim. You will have to walk for some time till you reach the main hall of Rumtek Monastery. There are scenic vantage points in this monastery from where you can view the scenic landscapes of Sikkim.
2. Lingdum Monastery
Lingdum Monastery is also famous as Ranka Monastery. This is one of the most stunningly beautiful Buddhist monastery in Sikkim. The fascinating architecture with its bold colors stands out from the greenery of the forests that surround it. Lingdum Monastery was founded in 1999 and is the most recently built monastery in Sikkim. The prayer wheels, intricate paintings, and hand-made wall hangings are things to watch out for in this monastery. There is a big courtyard and an idol of Buddha and Guru Padmasambhava. There are many rare Buddhist manuscripts also in this monastery. Many Bollywood movies were shot in this Lingdum Monastery.
3. Ralang Monastery
Ralang Monastery is one of the beautiful Buddhist monasteries that you can visit in Sikkim. This monastery has a huge collection of Tibetan paintings. The gompa architecture of this monastery is eye-catching in itself. There are many viewpoints in this monastery from where you can view the surrounding countryside. The monastery holds an annual festival called Pang Lhabsol, where monks perform the Kagyed dance. You can reach this monastery on a short trek from Ravangla.
4. Enchey Monastery
Enchey Monastery means Solitary Temple. It is a 200-year-old Buddha monastery in Sikkim. According to Buddhist legends, Lama Druptob Karpo, a famous Tibetan Tantrik, who had the power to fly through the air, flew to this place and constructed this monastery. Enchey Monastery is a monastery of the Vajrayana school of Buddhism. Three gods are worshipped here, Buddha, Loki Sharia, and Guru Padmasambhava. The special attraction of Enchey Monastery is the dance called Chaam, where monks wear Tibetan masks and celebrate the new year of the Tibetan calendar.
5. Kartok Monastery
Kartok Monastery is in Yuksom Village in Sikkim. This monastery is situated in picturesque surroundings. Lake Kartok is just opposite this monastery. Kartok Monastery is eye-catching beauty that is marked by its red, golden, orange, and white colors. The prayer flags and slow chanting of the monks that goes on in this monastery is an audio-visual treat. This monastery, along with others nearby like Dubdi Monastery and Ngadak Chorling Monastery is worth visiting in Yuksom. You can visit the fossils near Kartok Lake when you visit this monastery.
6. Pemayangtse Monastery
Pemayangtse Monastery is the oldest monastery in Sikkim. It is more than 300 years old, and the interiors are decorated with Tibetan symbols, paintings, and murals. Pemayangtse means a ‘perfect sublime lotus’. The woodwork in this monastery is excellent and the rich architecture of this monastery is worth looking out for when visiting this monastery in Sikkim. From Pemayangtse Monastery you can look out for the Kanchenjunga peak on the horizon.
7. Phodong Monastery
Phodong Monastery is one of the most beautiful monasteries in Sikkim. The monastery was founded by King Gyurmed Namgyal and belongs to the Kagyupa Sect of Buddhism. Phodong Monastery has wonderful Tibetan architecture and its interiors and halls are adorned with paintings, murals, Tibetan motifs, and scenes from Buddhist scriptures. About 260 Buddhist monks live in Phodong Monastery. The annual Tibetan festival which falls in December called Losoong Festival is a religious festival held in Phodong Monastery, where you can watch masked monks perform the Chaam dance.
8. Tashiding Monastery
Among the most famous monasteries in Sikkim, Tashiding Monastery is also among the most visited. It is very old and was built in the 17th century. Tashiding Monastery follows the Nyingmapa school of Buddhism. Tashiding Monastery is situated on top of a hill and between two rivers called Rathong and Rangit. Bhumchhu, which is a sacred ceremony performed in this monastery is an auspicious event with many festivities and ancient rituals.
9. Tsuklakhang Monastery
Tsuklakhang Monastery is located in Tsuklakhang Palace in Sikkim. This monastery is also the monastery where members of the royal family of Sikkim come and pray. The interiors of this monastery are adorned with wooden sculptures, wall paintings, murals, Buddhist motifs, and scriptures. There are sculptures and images of Buddha and other deities of Buddhist mythology. Tsuklakhang Monastery celebrates several festivals throughout the year and the major ones are Phang Lhabsol and Losoong. You can discover many things about the unique Tibetan culture during these festivals and also watch the monks wear masks and perform the Chaam dance to ceremonial music.
10. Dubdi Monastery
The hilltop location of Dubdi Monastery makes it one of the most scenic ones. Dubdi Monastery is a monastery of the Nyingma sect of Tibetan Buddhism. This monastery was established in 1701 and is also one of the oldest monasteries in Sikkim. You can watch the wonderfully scenic Yuksom Valley from this monastery. The path to this monastery is unbelievably beautiful, and you will have to pass through dense woods and forested paths to reach this monastery. The interiors of this monastery have murals, paintings, sculptures, inscriptions of Buddhist deities.