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Uniquely Blissful Monasteries of Sikkim

Sikkim is a special place where the mountains reverberate with the music of chants and winds fluttering prayer flags. There are many Buddhist monasteries perched atop the mountains and lie scattered all over this little state of India. Most of the monasteries date back to the 17th and 18th Centuries and have stood through the test of time toughened by the weather conditions. The monasteries of Sikkim are special not only because they are scenic but also known for their superb architecture, beautiful surroundings, and awe-inspiring overall experience of visiting them. 

Let’s look at the famous monasteries of Sikkim that must be on your list to visit in Sikkim when you take a trip to the northeast the next time!


Dubdi Monastery

Dubdi, the oldest monastery in Sikkim

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Dubdi monastery is one of the popular monasteries of Sikkim. It was established way back at the beginning of the 18th century. Perched at a breathtaking hilltop location of 22,637 ft ASL, the monastery belongs to the Nyingma sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Dense alpine trees and a path that leads to the monastery make it even more appealing. There are statues of three lamas with a fine two-storied stone architecture which is a rather beautiful sight. There is a bell-shaped structure on top of the roof and a remarkable positioning, also known as Gyaltshen. 

There are many nearby attractions also, like the Tashiding monastery, Kartok Monastery, Tashi Tenka, Norbugang Chorten, and Kanchenjunga National Park. 

How to reach Dubdi Monastery

Dubdi Monastery is located at a walkable distance of 3 km from Yuksom. A shared jeep or government bus will take you from Pelling or Geyzing to Yuksom. The journey takes 2 hours and can also be undertaken in a hired cab/taxi. Pelling and Geyzing are also well-connected from Siliguri and Bagdogra. 

Rumtek Monastery

The picturesque Rumtek monastery 

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Located close to Gangtok amongst thrilling mountainous terrain, the Rumtek monastery is an idyllic setting to absorb all the nature around. The monastery has three storeys and from the main gate of the compound, there is a walk of about half a kilometre to reach the main gompa. 

Rumtek lies on the opposite mountain of Gangtok town at a short distance of around 23 kilometres. The viewpoints from the Rumtek monastery lend stunning views of Gangtok city and the sights are amazing to watch. Rumtek belongs to the Kargyu sect and was built sometime in the 1960s. It boasts of being one of the largest monasteries in Sikkim. 

Buddhist festival at the Rumtek monastery

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The main attraction at the Rumtek monastery is the Buddhist festival that happens here annually. The Botanical garden here is another must-visit if you go to this beautiful monastery. 

How to reach Rumtek Monastery

Private taxis/cabs are available for hire to travel from Gangtok to Rumtek monastery. Bus services are also available from the city to reach the monastery. 

Enchey Monastery

Enchey monastery located close to Gangtok in Sikkim

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A 200-year-old monastery, located just 3 km from the main capital city of Gangtok is the Enchey monastery. ‘Enchey’ in the local dialect means ‘solitary’ and rightly so, the location justifies its name as it stands solo on the hill. Nature’s splendour is felt in totality at the amazing location of this monastery and the beauty is to behold! The monastery belongs to the Nyingma sect of Vajrayana Buddhism. The Tibetan calendar in the lunar month of January and February witnesses special prayers every year over here. 

The special attraction of the monastery is the Chaam dance performed at religious celebrations in the lunar months. The lamas perform this masked dance, and the colourful and vibrant performances are indeed a pleasure to watch!

How to reach Enchey Monastery

Just a 10-minute taxi or bus ride will make you reach Enchey from Gangtok. 

Ralang Monastery

Ralang monastery at Ravangla

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The best of Tibetan architecture is showcased at the Ralang monastery located at Ravangla. It boasts of being the biggest monastery in Sikkim and is a visual treat to watch the traditions, colours and awesome Tibetan architecture. The monastery is popular among Buddhists all over the world. 

A new monastery has also come up at a distance of 6 km from Ravangla and is more accessible than the one located 13 km away. A reason for the popularity of the Ralang monastery is that it hosts the famous festival of Pang Lhabsol every year. The highlight is the Kagyed Dance that the monks perform during the festival.

Other attractions in the monastery are the rare collection of paintings inside the gompa, Mangbrue Gompa and viewpoint, and Kewzing monastery. 

How to reach Ralang Monastery

The nearest airport is Bagdogra at a distance of 112 km from the monastery whereas New Jalpaiguri (NJP) is the nearest railway station. Taxis are available from Siliguri and Bagdogra to reach Namchi. A private or shared vehicle will get you from Namchi to Ravangla covering a distance of 22 km in about 40 minutes time. The last part of the 6 km journey can only be reached by trekking. 


Tashiding Monastery

Tashiding monastery in Pelling

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Rustic charm and snow-capped peaks mystify the Tashiding monastery. Popular among travellers from all over the world, this Sikkim Buddhist monastery truly reflects the old-world charm. A pot of holy water which is kept inside the gompa and is made use of during the time of festivals is considered very auspicious. 

Amidst holy chanting and prayer flags fluttering, the whole complex is indeed the best place to soak in the beauty of nature’s splendour. A day spent at this holy and sacred monastery is the perfect setting. There are almost 60-70 monks at this monastery. A special attraction here is the inscription slab which lies outside the monastery. 

How to reach Tashiding Monastery

The Tashiding monastery is located close to Pelling and is at a distance of 40 km from Gyalshing and 30 km from Ravangla. Hired cabs/taxis are available to reach the monastery from these cities. 

Kartok Monastery

Kartok monastery in Yuksom in Sikkim

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Located in the Yuksom village and opposite the Kartok Lake lies the Kartok monastery. Myriad travellers visit this red-coloured monastery in the northeastern state of Sikkim. Tibetan-design motifs of golden and yellow colours are found all over the monastery's exterior. 

Kartok forms a great trio with the Dubdi and Ngadak monasteries. Fluttering pretty prayer flags, chants filling the atmosphere and the lovely Lake Kartok in the vicinity make it a beautiful spectacle to behold. 

The beautiful landscape all around the monastery and the fossils near the lake are sure attractions for those visiting the monastery. 

How to reach Kartok Monastery

The Kartok monastery at Yuksom is easily reachable by shared/hired taxis from the major towns of Geyzing and Pelling. 


Lingdum Monastery

Lingdum monastery in Sikkim

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Located 20 km from Gangtok, the Lingdum Monastery is situated in East Sikkim. It is one of the popular monasteries of Sikkim as it is the favourite of filmmakers in Bollywood. The monastery is also known as Ranka Monastery and is the most recent monastery out of all, which was completed in the year 1998. 

This monastery is the best place to spend beautiful moments in solace and feel the divine energy all around. A delight for the photographers, the monastery has forested areas all around which makes it a treat for shutterbugs. 

Among other things, this monastery in East Sikkim has prayer wheels at the entrance, masked dances being the major attraction during Losar which is the Tibetan new year. Nearby places to visit are Banjhakri Waterfall and Rumtek monastery also.

How to reach Lingdum Monastery

The Lingdum monastery is easily reachable through local/govt hired transport and also by a private vehicle from Gangtok.

Phodong Monastery

Monks at the Phodong monastery in Sikkim

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Belonging to the Kagyupa Sect of Buddhism, the Phodong monastery is one of the major monasteries of Sikkim. It is a popular monastery which was founded by Gyurmed Namgyal of Kagyupa Sect. The monastery stands at a whopping 14,800 ft ASL and is adorned with murals, paintings, and many ancient holy scriptures. There is no doubt that it is among the best monasteries in North Sikkim. The 260 monks who reside here are also of a noble lineage. 

Nearby attractions are the Labrang monastery and Tumlong. 

How to reach Phodong Monastery

The nearest airport is Bagdogra located 124 km from the Phodong monastery. All through, the major cities of India are well connected with the Bagdogra airport. The nearest railway station is 125 km from the monastery and is well-connected to all the major cities of Kolkata, Delhi, and Guwahati. 

Pemayangtse Monastery

Pemayangtse monastery near Pelling

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Standing through the test of time is the Pemayangtse monastery which is one of the oldest gompas in Sikkim. The period from March to June is the best time to visit the monastery to experience its unique charm and glory. The word ‘Pemayangtse’ means ‘Perfect Sublime Lotus’ in the local dialect and this place is a marvel of architecture under the clear blue sky. Tibetan motifs and designs on pillars and walls grace the interiors of the monastery. 

The monastery, being 300 years old, is the ideal place for praying and practising meditation. Majestic mountains as a backdrop, rich architecture and peaceful and friendly Buddhist lamas will undoubtedly make your visit to one of the oldest monasteries a pure delight!

How to reach Pemayangtse Monastery

A shared/hired taxi from Gangtok and Pelling can get you to Pemayangtse Monastery. From Pelling, the 2 km distance to the monastery is easily walkable. 


Tsuklakhang Palace

Ancient Buddhist prayer wheels in the monastery

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Another structure in Sikkim that came up at the end of the 19th Century is the Tsuklakhang Royal chapel and Monastery. Buddhists flock to this monastery from all over the world as it is a place that preserves the cultural heritage of the state of Sikkim. The beautiful tradition of our country is indeed gloriously showcased in this beautifully made monastery. 

The beautiful and fine Tibetan architecture is showcased in the most beautiful form in this Gompa. The Losar celebration and Pang Lhabsol festival which is celebrated in honour of Mount Kanchenjunga is the highlight of this monastery. 


How to reach Tsuklakhang Monastery

The 124 km distance from Gangtok to the monastery can be completed through a shared cab/taxi. The closest railway station is NJP located 148 km away.

Aren’t you excited to visit all these monasteries in Sikkim? Not only are the views adorable but the journey to these pretty gompas is one of a kind. So pack up and plan your Sikkim vacation for a blissful and peaceful time in the hills. The harmonious blend of Sikkim monasteries and lustrous landscapes is waiting just for you!