Monasteries in Sikkim
With a total of about 250 monasteries, the culture of Sikkim is closely linked to Tibetan Buddhism. Monasteries form an integral part of Sikkim. Most monasteries belong to the Nyingmapa Sect or the Kargyupa Sect.
Rumtek Monastery: The largest monastery in the Eastern Himalayas, built by the Gyalwa Karmapa in strict accordance with the traditional designs of the Kagyurpa monastery in Tibet. Rumtek is the seat of Kagyu order of Tibetan Buddhism. This magnificent gompa is only 24 km from Gangtok. A fifteen-minute walk downhill takes to the old monastery which was originally built in 1730 by the ninth Karmapa but was destroyed by fire and had to be reconstructed to the present state.
Pemayangtse Monastery: Pemayangtse literally means 'Perfect Sublime Lotus'. This is one of the oldest and most important monasteries of Sikkim. Founded in 1705, this monastery belongs to the Nyingma-pa sect. The three-storied building of the monastery houses a good collection of wall paintings and sculptures. On the third floor of the monastery, there is a seven-tiered painted wooden model of the abode of Guru Rimpoche, complete with rainbows, angels and the whole panoply of Buddhas and bodhisattvas. In January/ February every year, a religious dance called 'Cham' is performed in Pemayangtse.
Enchey Monastery: The name of this 200-year-old monastery means the Solitary temple. The monastery is famous for the mask dance called 'Cham' performed in the month of January.
Dodrul Chorten: This Chorten in Gangtok was built in 1945-46, in accordance with a prophecy. Placed inside the Chorten is a complete mandala set of Dorji Phurpa (Bajra Kilaya), one set of Ka-gyur holy Books, relics, complete 'zung'(mantras) and other religious objects.
Phensang Monastery: This monastery in North Sikkim was built in 1721. In 1947 it was completely gutted by fire and was rebuilt in 1948. There are around 300 monks in the monastery and the main annual function of the monastery is on the 28th & 29th days of the tenth month of the Tibetan calendar which roughly falls in the month of December/ January.
Phodang Monastery: This monastery is just 28km from Gangtok. It was built by the Chogyal Gyurmed Namgyal sometime in the first quarter of the eighteenth century. The original monastery has been rebuilt and is today one of the most beautiful in Sikkim. It possesses some beautiful old mural paintings and has around 260 monks. The main annual festival is performed on the 28th & 29th days of the tenth month of the Tibetan calendar.
Labrang Monastery: About half a kilometre uphill from Phodang Monastery is the Labrang monastery. Built towards the end of the nineteenth century, this monastery belongs to the Nyingmapa sect. Just below the road between the Phodang and Labrang Monastery are the ruins of Tumlong, the third capital of Sikkim.
Tashiding Monastery: About 40km from Gyalshing (West Sikkim), via Legship, is this important monastery belonging to the Nyingmapa order. It was built during the 17th century on the top of a hill that looms up between the Rathong River and the Rangit River.
Pal Zurmang Kagyud Monastery: This monastery is situated on the Rumtek - Ranka - Gangtok road at Lingdum; about 45-minute drive from Gangtok. The complex is a fine example of Tibetan monastic architecture.
Tsuk-La-Khang Monastery: This monastery is located in the Royal Palace premises near Ridge Park in Gangtok. It is two-storied and was used during royal functions like weddings and coronations.
Ralong Monastery: This monastery belongs to the Karma Kagyu order and was rebuilt by the government between 1975 and 81. The monastery has around 100 monks.
Sinon Monastery: Sinon means 'the suppressor of intense fear. The monastery was built in 1716 and is located about 10km from Tashiding on a hilltop.
Sanga Chelling Monastery: Sanga chelling means 'the island of esoteric teaching'. This monastery was built in 1697 and is situated about 7km from Pemayangtse. It is about 45 minute walk from Pelling and is the second oldest monastery of Sikkim.
Dubdi Monastery: This monastery the name of which means 'the retreat' was built in the 17th century. It is located near Yuksum on a hilltop.
Kewzing Monastery: This monastery is located near Kewzing in South Sikkim. It was built during the reign of Chogyal Thutob Namgyal.
Dalling Monastery: Dalling means 'the thunderbolt'. This monastery was built in 1840 and is situated near Kewzing.
Yangyang Monastery: Yangyang means 'the ridge of fortune'. This monastery was built in 1840 and is situated at Yangyang, 10km downhill from Rabongla.
Namchi Monastery: This monastery is located in Namchi, the district headquarters of the south district and was constructed during the reign of Chogyal Gurmed Namgyal.
Chawang Ani Monastery: This monastery is located near Phensang which is on the highway between Gangtok and Mangan. It was built during the reign of Chogyal Tshudphud Namgyal.
Khatok Monastery: This monastery is located in East Sikkim near Pakyong. The present structure of the monastery was built during the reign of Chogyal Thutob Namgyal.
Bermoik Monastery: This monastery was constructed in 1952 and follows the Nyingma sect of Buddhism. It is situated in South Sikkim above Singtam.
Lachen Monastery: This monastery in North Sikkim was built in 1806.
Lachung Monastery: This monastery in North Sikkim was built in 1880.
Sang Monastery: This monastery is situated near Rumtek and was built in 1912.
Simik Monastery: This monastery is situated near Singtam town.
Khechepalri Monastery: located just above the famous Khecheopalri lake near Yuksum.
Melli Monastery: located near Yuksum.
Rhenock Monastery: about 63km from Gangtok.