Embark on a Spiritual Sojourn to Monasteries in North East India
North East India is an unexplored gem of beauty, adventure, amazing experiences and ancient roots of Buddhism. Monasteries in North East India not only portray the current situation of religion in the North-Eastern part but also cast light on its ancient rituals and traditions. After being unexplored for a long time, these sacred multi-hued temples are now open to the outer world.
Get ready for spiritual enlightenment, check out the best Monasteries in North East India mentioned below.
Rumtek Monastery, Sikkim
Noted as an important spiritual and education center for learners, Rumtek Monastery is also known as the Dharmachakra Centre. The largest monastery in Sikkim serves as the blue print for other Indian Viharas for its architecture and design. Dating back to 9th century, the place features ancient and rare artefacts. A golden stupa is the center of attraction which preserves the relics of 16th Karmapa. Vibrant and panoramic landscapes, undulated river and gushing waterfalls leave you spellbound. Do not forget to attend the masked dances during Drupchen in May and June. The Rumtek Monastery is one of the best places to visit in the months of September and October.
Phodong Monastery, Sikkim
Coming under the Kagyupa Sect, Phodong Monastery is positioned at a height of 4500 ft. One of the famous Buddhist Monasteries in India, this holy place is a home to 260 monks of the Kagyu lineage. The colorful murals, frescos and paintings adorning the walls are very overwhelming. 9th Karmapa upon visiting Sikkim founded this 18th century abbey. An earthquake caused much harm to Monastery and it has to undergo modification. In 1977, a revamped vihara much bigger than the previous one was open to the public. The pleasant weather conditions in the month of March – May and October – December prove to be the best to visit Phodong Monastery. The Loosang Festival is celebrated here around December.
Pemayangtse Monastery, Sikkim
Featuring awe-inspiring views of the Mount Kanchenjunga, Pemayangtse Monastery is counted as the oldest monastery in Sikkim. The three centuries year old abbey is still the dwelling place of the monks of the Bhutia family. All the other Monasteries of the Nyingma Order of Tibetan Buddhism in Sikkim are controlled by this monastery. Lhatsun Chempo, one of the three Lamas in Yuksom founded the lamasery in 17th century. Historic paintings and sculptures of the eighth incarnation of Lord Padamasambhava’s are elegantly placed within the premises. Attend the very popular Cham Dance Festival which is held every year on the 28th and 29th day of the 12th lunar month of Tibetan Calendar. Plan a trip to Pemayangtse Monastery in the month of March and May.
Tawang Monastery, Arunachal Pradesh
Representing the Mahayana Buddhism sect, Tawang Monastery holds the epithet Galden Namgey Lhaste. Monks dancing in the wee hours present a visual retreat and thus this priory ranks amongst the best places to visit in Northeast India. The second largest monastery in the world is three storey high and houses 65 residential buildings. The festival of Torgya is celebrated with great zeal every year to eliminate any kind of external expropriation. The 19th century monastery has a main assembly hall which is known as Dukhang, a library, and a court for conducting religious ceremonies and fests. Pay special attention to the thangkas painted with the blood extracted from the nose of fifth Dalai Lama. Summer season and onset of monsoon season is the best time to visit Tawang Monastery.
Lachen Monastery, Sikkim
Housing the idol of Guru Padamsambhava, Lachen Monastery is nestled in serene backdrop and offers splendid views. Constructed in 1858 by Nyingma Sect of Tibetan Buddhism, the vihara is one of the popular pilgrimage destinations in Northeast India. Colorful flags and prayer wheels add to the charm of this small sacred place. Dress up in traditional attire of Sikkim and click photos at this picture perfect destination.
Launching Gompa or Ngodub Choling are the other names to address this pilgrim site. The salubrious weather during March to June is apt for exploring the Lachen Monastery. Losoong and Saga Dawa are the fiestas that bring Lachen to life.
Check Out Top Things to do in North East India
Enchey Monastery, Sikkim
Ready for a spiritual journey in Northeast India? Enchey Monastery is another significant and ancient Buddhist abbey. Resembling a typical Chinese pagoda, the exteriors of the monastery are as appealing as its interiors. Lama Druptob Karpo, a pro in the art of flying and a Buddhist tantric master is the name behind this religious place. Apart from rendering the scenic views of the Kanchenjunga Range, the most beautiful vihara is festooned with frescoes and thangkas of various hues. Built in 1901, the ‘solitary temple’ is paradise for solitude seekers.
Try and learn lessons of meditation by observing the meditating monks in and around the lamasery. Make it a point to partake in Losoong and Losar festivals to cheer the merry making Gangtok valley. The gala is hosted annually in the months of September and October.
If you are planning for a Darjeeling and Gangtok Honeymoon tour, check out these 10 Reasons to visit Darjeeling and Gangtok for honeymoon
Tashiding Monastery, Sikkim
Tashiding Monastery is lies beautifully atop a hill tucked up between the Rathong and Ranjit Rivers. Dedicated to Nyingma sect of Tibetan Buddhism, the Gompa is the holiest and sacred monasteries in Sikkim. The 17th century Vihara showcases stone plates or Manis with sacred Buddhist mantras inscribed on them. Bhumchu Festival, a revered ceremony falling on the 14th and 15th day of 1st month of Tibetan Calder lures numerous tourist from far and near.
This is the reason that makes Tashiding Monastery a popular winter destination in India and a must visit in the month of February. According to a common belief, bowing down here cleanses all the sins of a person who is willing to repent. Nearly 60 to 70 lamas dwell at this lamasery.
Ghoom Monastery, Darjeeling
With an alternate name as Yiga Choeling Monastery, Ghoom Monastery was established by a Mongolian astrologer in 1850. The religious site remains in the wish list of almost everybody who is planning a holiday in Darjeeling. People from distant places visit here to learn about the scriptures. However, a 15 feet high Buddha statue grabs the attention. Precious gems and gold ornate the statue.
Two huge oil lamps are lit up continuously in the front of this idol. Find some peace of mind while looking at the superb arts and paintings of Tibetan Buddhism. Belonging to the Yellow Hat sect or Gelukpa, the celebrated Gompa becomes active during the Tibetan New year, Saka Dawa, H.H The Dalai Lama’s Birth Anniversary, Lhabhab Dhuchen and Ganden Ngamchol.
Samdruptse Monastery, Sikkim
A grand statue of Guru Padamasambhava grabs the attention at the Samdruptse Monastery. Golden rays falling on the gilded face on the patron saint causes a glittering effect. Going around the platform, one can soak in the beauty of the mighty Mountains and thick forests. A legend is associated with the Samdruptse hill which implies to ‘Wish fulfilling hill’.
However, the natives believe that the hill is a sleeping volcano. Thus, Buddhist lamas pray here so that the volcano never becomes active which has stayed dormant so far. The foundation of the iconic monastery was laid in 20th century. Mask dance is an important festivals celebrated at Samdruptse Monastery. June are the perfect months to visit this most popular Buddhist Monastery.
Dubdi Monastery, Sikkim
Positioned 7000 ft. above the Sea level, the Dubdi Monastery is often known as the Yuksom Monastery. The two storied structure houses painted images of saints, divinities and other symbols. There is a collection of manuscripts as well in the abbey. A walkthrough the 18th century monastery takes you close to the nature. The snow covered mountains, emerald green gorge and prolific foliage are a treat to the eyes.
Dubdi is a holy place holding a sobriquet ‘Hermit’s Cell’ after the crowning of the first king, Phuntsog Namgyal. March to May is believed to be the best time to visit Dubdi Monastery due to the fine weather. Take a tour to these famous monasteries in Northeast India and get spiritually enlightened.