One of the most beautiful monasteries of Sikkim, Phodong Monastery (or Phodang Monastery) is perched at an altitude of 4500 ft. Here, you not only absorb the spiritual aura all around but also delight in a scenic visual treat. It is home to nearly 260 Kagyu monks. Interiors are beautified with painting, frescoes, and murals that are sure to leave tourists overwhelmed with the finesse of those times. In the proximity, you will find two more monasteries – Phensang and Labrang. All these monasteries are on the North Sikkim Highway and can be reached easily by taxi, jeep, and car. A visit to this monastery sets you on the journey of self-exploration amidst these pristine hill-scapes.
About Phodong Monastery
Built by the erstwhile ruler of Sikkim - Chogyal Gyurmed Namgyal, the monastery is an important pilgrimage centre of Sikkim. Also, it is one of the six most important ones in the state as well as among the three significant Kagyu sect monasteries in Sikkim. During the monastery’s construction, the king left for the heavenly abode in 1734 but his supporters completed the construction in 1740.
The monastery’s original structure was consumed by the earthquake (year) but was reconstructed in 1977 with financial assistance from the Government along with their own contribution. Today, the revamped edifice is grander than the original one. While reconstruction was going on, professionals of the Delhi National Museum Institute extracted the old fresco paintings.
The monastery gained limelight when a French explorer Alexandra David-Néel penned down about it. She spent some years here from 1912, dedicated to learning Buddhism.
Losoong festival or the Tibetan new year is celebrated here on the 28th and 29th days of the tenth month of the Tibetan calendar. Along with other rituals, monks here add to the festivities with a special chaam dance.
- Type of Destination - Historical, Pilgrimage, Heritage
- Location - About 38 km from Gangtok in North Sikkim
- Timings of Phodong Monastery - 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM
- Entry Fee of Phodong Monastery - Free
- Duration - 1-2 hours
Best time to Visit Phodong Monastery
- March to May and October to December
How to Reach Phodong Monastery
- By Air: Nearest airport to Sikkim is Bagdogra in West Bengal (124 km). You can hire a cab from here to reach Gangtok and then further to your destination.
- By Road: Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Siliguri, and District headquarters within Sikkim connect with Gangtok. After reaching here, it is easy to proceed to the monastery.
- By Rail: Siliguri (114 km) and New Jalpaiguri (125 km) are the nearest railway stations to Gangtok. Once you reach here, get a taxi or cab to reach Gangtok and ahead to the monastery.
You can enjoy a picturesque drive through Tashi viewpoint ridge. On reaching Phodong, the road diverts uphill to the monastery. However, at times road conditions are tricky as landslides occur that make the road inaccessible temporarily.
Things to Carry
- Sunglasses and sunscreen
- Comfortable footwear
- Comfortable and decent clothes
- Jackets and sweater (in case of cold weather)
- Insect repellent
- Medicines (if required)
- Water bottle
- Avoid using mobile phones and maintain the peace of the monastery.
- As a mark of respect, leave an offering at the monastery.
- Don’t enter the monastery while wearing footwear.
- No eatables are allowed.
- Dress up modestly.
- Don’t touch the sacred items and artifacts inside.
Before clicking pictures, always take permission.