MONASTERIES OF SIKKIM
Monasteries of Sikkim
With a total of about 250 monasteries or gompas, 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. The monasteries are adorned with life-like frescoes 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.
PEMAYANGTSE MONASTERY
Pemayangtse Monastery is situated in West Sikkim at Gyalshing (140 kms. from Gangtok) and commands an impressive view of Mount khanchendzonga. Founded in 1705, this monastery belongs to the Nyingma-pa sect and all other Nyingma monasteries in Sikkim are subordinate to it. Pemayangtse literally means 'Perfect Sublime Lotus'. This is one of the oldest and most important monasteries of Sikkim. 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.
RUMTEK MONASTERY
The largest monastery in the Eastern Himalaya, 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 drive through beautiful countryside takes one 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 occupation of Tibet. It houses some of the worlds most unique art objects, ancient manuscripts and icons. 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.
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 in North Sikkim 28 kms. from Gangtok. It was built by the Chogyal Gyurmed Namgyal sometime in the first quarter of 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.
TASHIDING MONASTERY
This is another important monastery belonging to the Nyingmapa order and is about 40 Kms. from Gyalshing by road via Legship (West Sikkim). It lies nestled on the top of a hill that looms up between the Rathong river and the Rangit river and is surrounded by a profusion of Prayer flags that flutter in the air. It was built during the 17th century on the top of a hill that looms up between the Rathong River and the Rangit River.
SANGA CHOELING MONASTERY
Sanga choeling means ' the island of esoteric teaching'. This monastery was built in 1697 and is situated about 7 kms. from Pemayangste. It is said to be the oldest monastery in Sikkim.
DUBDI MONASTERY
Dubdi means 'the retreat' and this monastery was built in 1700. It is located near Yuksum on a hill top. One has to travel by foot to reach it.
KHECHOPELRI MONASTERY
This monastery is located just above the famous Khechopelri Lake (wish full filling lake) near Yukusm.
MELLI MONASTERY
Melli basically means 'a lepcha village'. This monastery is also located near Yuksum.
SINON MONASTERY
Sinon means 'the suppressor of intense fear'. The monastery was built in 1716 and is located about 10 kms. from Tashiding on a hill top.
DALLING MONASTERY
Dalling means 'the thunderbolt'. This monastery was built in 1840 and is situated near Kewzing .
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. An important seat of the Nyingma order, the Enchey Monastery is built on the site blessed by Lama Druptob Karpoa tantric master known for his power of flying. This monastery in North Sikkim was built in 1721 during the time of Jigme Pawo. In 1947 it was completely gutted by a devastating fire. However it was rebuilt in 1948 thangs largely to the devotion of the Lamas and the unstinted spot of the laity.
YANGYANG MONASTERY
Yangyang means 'the ridge of fortune'. This monastery was built in 1840 and is situated at a place called Yangyang 10 kms. downhill from Rabongla.
NAMCHI MONASTERY
This monastery is located in Namchi, the district headquarters of south district and was constructed during the reign of Chogyal Gurmed Namgyal.
KWEZING MONASTERY
This monastery is located near Kwezing in South Sikkim. It was built during the reign of Chogyal Thutob Namgyal.
SIMIC MONASTERY
This monastery is situated in near Singtam town. It was built during the reign of Chogyal Tsudphud Namgyal.
HEE GYATHANG MONASTERY
This monastery is located in and follows the Nyingma sect of Buddhism.
LINGTEM MONASTERY
This monastery is located in the Dzongu area of North Sikkim.
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 .
RHENOCK MONASTERY
This monastery is located in about 63 kms. from Gangtok.
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.

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