Sikkim has nearly 200 monasteries of Nyingma and Kagyud Order, which has been greatly influencing the culture and lifestyle of the people while demonstrating the ritual and practices originating in Tibet. Crimson robed monks chant hymns from the mantras at the rhythm of drums and trumpets of different sizes. 108 oil lamps flicker before the statues of Lord Buddha, Guru Padmasambhava and other Gods believed to be the various forms of Lord Buddha. Devotees while listening and praying themselves with prayer wheels and prayer beads shows their devotion as being close to nature and almighty while with the drone of the monks in prayer and the sputtering butter or oil lamps are an evocative vision. The monasteries are adorned with priceless manuscripts, scriptures, literatures and thankas painted on rare silk and brocade with the touch of gold. It is common to see sputtering prayer flags outside the monasteries. Each monastery has the traditional architecture carved and painted woodwork and icons of silver and gold.
Seventeenth Century Monastery (Perfect sublime Lotus) of Nyingmapa Order situated at Gyalshing at the distance of 140 kilometres from Gangtok and which is perched at a height of 2085 meters surrounded by snow capped mountains, while providing the magnificent view of Mount Khangchendzonga. It is Sikkim’s second oldest monastery. Enshrined within are numerous ancient icons and objects of worship. Its walls and ceilings are embellished with bright hued frescoes of gods and demons.
24 kilometres from Gangtok, while driving through beautiful countryside takes one to this lavishly built monastery which is said to be a replica of the Tsurphu Monastery of the Kagyupa Order in Tibet. Built in 1960 by His Holiness Gyalwa Karmapa of Tibet and head of the Kagyud Sect of Buddhism, while taking refuge in Sikkim after the Chinese attack of Tibet. Rumtek Monastery or Rumtek Dharma Chakra in houses some of the world’s most unique art objects, ancient manuscripts, magnificent murals and icons.
Built during the reign of Thutob Namgyal is one of the most important monasteries of Sikkim and belongs to Nyingma order. Three kilometres from Gangtok this monastery is built on a site blessed by Lama Druptob Karpo, a revered tantric master reputed for his powers to fly. It has within it precincts many icons and religious artefacts of antiquity.
Built during the reign of Jigmee Pawo in 1721 was devastated by the fire in 1947 which again was rebuilt in 1948. Located at the gentle slope stretching from Kabi Phodong in North Sikkim.
Situated at Ravangla where Pang Lhabsol celebration takes place every year.
Located at North Sikkim in Lachung village on the slope opposite to the highway is the focal point of all religious functions of the local inhabitants. This monastery belongs to Nyingma Order.
Pal Zurmang Kagyud Monastery
Located at Lingdum East Sikkim at a distance of 20 kilometres from Gangtok. The present Gharwang Rimpoche is the 12th Successive incarnation of the glorious emanation of Zurmang Gharwang.
Situated at a distance of 38 kilometres from Gangtok. The monastery was built by Chogyal Gyurmed Namgyal sometime before the first quarter of eighteenth century.
Near Tashi View Point at Gangtok, as established by H.E. Tingkye Gonjang Rimpoche and follows the Jangter tradition of Nyingma School of Tibetan.
Situated at the distance of about one kilometre from Phodang, this monastery was built 100 years later and follows Nyingma Order.
This monastery famous for Bhumchu festival is constructed on top of a heart shaped hill with the backdrop of the sacred Mount Khangchendzonga. According to Buddhist scriptures, Guru Padma Sambhava (Guru Rimpochee) blessed the sacred land of Sikkim in the 8th Century A.D. from this spot. Monastery however was build 1000 years later by Ngadak Sempa Chempo, one of the three monks who had performed the consecration ceremony of the first Chogyal.
Monastery established soon after the consecration ceremony of the first Chogyal, is located on a hill top above Yuksom surrounded by forest. It can be reached only through trekking while negotiating the steep slope.
Situated on a ridge above Pelling and the famous Pemayangtse Monastery, Sanga–Choling Monastery as built in 1697 A.D. is considered to be one of the oldest monasteries in Sikkim. It can be reached while going through a thick forest.