Red Linen Monastic Tours

It is believed that the Guru Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche), the holy saint from north-western part of India blessed Sikkim with Buddhism.  Guru Rinpoche meditated in various parts of Sikkim and has called Sikkim as a powerful religious place. Buddhist lineage in Sikkim follows the channels of Vajrayana mainly of Nyingma and Kagud order. The Sikkimese Bhutias, Lepchas, Tamangs and Gurungs mostly follow Nyingma or Kagud orders. There are other influential orders of Buddhism, the Gelug  and followed by Tibetan Bhutias in Sikkim
            There are various Monasteries and stupas that depict the Buddhist influences in Sikkim. Here are the important and sacred Monasteries of Sikkim.

One of the oldest Nyingma Monastery of Sikkim at a distance of 3 kms trek from Yuksom Valley which was the first capital of Sikkim. The first King Chogyal Phuntshog Namgyal (1604-1670) founded this monastery in 1647 A.D. in veneration to the Patron Saint Gyalwa Lhatsun Chenpo. It was fully reconstructed by third Lhatsun Jigme Pawo in the year 1723 A.D. during the reign of Chogyal Gyurmed Namgyal.
Dubdi Monastery

The precious paintings of Maha Shidhas of Sikkim, Guru Tshog-Shing and other protecting Deities are embellished on the inner walls painted by Lhari Rinzin or Temi Lharipa in 1945. Today, the monastery is protected and maintained by Archeological Survey of India as a cultural heritage of Sikkim.

Sang Choeling Monastery 
As claimed, this monastery was founded by Lama Lhatsun Chenpo during the reign of the first King and date of the construction cannot be ascertained in the record book. Lama Lhatsun Chenpo also identified a site for the construction of second capital of Sikkim called Randentse and he was also monumental in building the Golden Stupa and Bodhi Stupa. It can be visited by a short trek from Pelling.

Pemayangtse Monastery 
It was originally a small Shrine called ‘Tsang- khang’ built by Lhatsun Chenpo on the spot west of the present Monastery in the year 1650-51. Later, Chogyal Chagdor Namgyal and Lama Khanchen Rolpai Dorje (First Head Lama of Pemayangtse Monastery) shifted this Monastery to its present site and re-established it in 1705 A.D. They enrolled 108 monks from the family of pure descent after having enrolled the King himself as the first monk. The Pemayangtse was specially built for the pure celibate monk called ‘Dra-tsang’ and their monks were reserved the honor of anointing and crowning the Kings (Chogyals).  Guru Drakmar-Chham (the masked dance) in winter in the month of February – March is the main attraction of this Monastery.

Tholung Monastery 
This Monastery is situated in the remote part of upper Dzongu, North Sikkim and is one of the most sacred monasteries in Sikkim.  The sacred place of Tholung was unveiled by the fourth Lhatsun Kunzang Jigmed Gyatso in the year of 13th Rabjung cycle of Tibetan calendar which corresponds to 1760. Here, the devotees draw holy water to remove ones karmic obscuration.
               Historically, in fear of recurrent invasion by the Nepal, the Lama Gyatso transferred all the precious collection, valuable texts and many other belongings of former lamas from Dubdi and Sanga Choeling monasteries in west Sikkim to the present place in 1887-88. The monastery boasts of having the antique cloth worn by Guru Rinpoche and it is believed that the cloth is still infested with lice as if the person is alive. These holy treasures are exhibited to the devotees in every three years during the festival of Kamsil ceremony.

Rumtek Monastery
 Situated around 23 kms from Gangtok, in the hill facing Gangtok is Rumtek Dhrama Chakra Centre and seat of His Holiness, The Gyalwa Karmapa of the Kargyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism. The sixteenth Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorje founded this monastery in 1962 and houses soe of the world’s most unique religious scriptures and rare objects. It is a replica of the original Kagyud head quarter in Tibet. Masked Dance is a popular event which is performed every year.

Tashiding Monastery
Tashiding hill is the naval point of all the holy places in Sikkim. The Guru Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche) made his miraculous visit to this hill in the 8th Century A.D. along with his retinue of followers and recognized it to be the heart of the holy place of Sikkim. Later, in 17th Century, three Great Monks came from Tibet, met at Yuksom and unveiled this most sacred place.
            Bhumchu, a sacred holy water ceremony is held annually and attracts thousands of devotees from Sikkim, Bhutan, Nepal, Arunachal Pradesh and other places. Bhumchu, meaning precious Vase containing holy water was brought from Tibet by Monk Lama Ngadak. Traditionally, predictions are made with the measurement of the water and also believed to cleanse all the sins whosoever gets a sip of it.  One can also witness the cave nearby believed to be used by Guru Rinpoche for meditation.

Phodong Monastery
This monastery was founded by the fourth King Gyurmed Namgyal and a major attraction to the tourists visiting North Sikkim. The Masked Dance is the main attraction here which is performed every year in the month of December – January.

Enchey Monastery

This was founded by Monk Lama Drupthop karpo in the year 1840, a tantric master known for his power of flying. The monastery performs special prayers to the local deities every day and a large number of devotees irrespective of religion, caste or creed come here for prayers. During the eve of festive season Loosong, the masked dance attracts hundreds of visitors.

Ralang Monastery
This Monastery was built by Sikkim’s fourth Ruler chogyal Gyurmed Namgyal in 1730 A.D. He built this Monastery after a short exile to Tibet and the consecration ceremony was said to be done by 12th Karmapa from Tibet itself and people witnessed a miracle of falling grains here at the roof of the Monastery used in rituals at Tibet. This is the first Kagyud monastery in Sikkim.

Pal Zurmang Monastery
Situated at Lingdum, a short distance from Gangtok is the seat of present Gharwang Rinpoche. A place worth visiting for its religious, exquisite architecture and serene atmosphere.

Other Important Buddhist Sites

Do-Drol Chorten
 This Stupa was built by Holiness Trulshi Rinpoche in the year 1945, head of the Nyingma Sect of Tibetan Buddhism in order to protect Sikkim from invasion by the neighboring countries. The stupa contains complete set of Mandala, Kang Gyur (holy scripts), mantras and other precious objects. This is also the seat of Kyabje Dodrupchen Rimpoche, accomplished Nyingmapa Monk.

Namgyal Institute of Tibetology
              This Institute is a treasure trove of a vast collection of rare Tibetan and Sanskrit manuscripts, antique statues and rare ancient Thankas (Tapestries). It has over 200 Buddhist icons and other prized rare objects and a visit worthwhile. Foundation Stone was laid by Holiness Dalai Lama in 1957 and in the year 1958, it was inaugurated by Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru, the then, Prime Minister of India.

Gurudongmar Lake
 It is one of the most holy lakes of Sikkim said to be first visited by Guru Padmasambhava and in the older times, people use to make predictions with the colour of the frozen lake. This lake is very popular among the couples who wish to have baby son as the lake believed to fulfill the said wishes. 


It is a statue of Guru Padmasambhava with 135 ft. tall. He was the founder of Mahayana Buddhism in Sikkim and blessed this holy land in 8th Century A.D. This statue was commissioned under the supervision of Dodrubchen Rinpoche of Deorali Gompa. Samdruptse means 'wish fulfilling summit'. It is located on a majestic hilltop, on the way to Namchi.

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