Pemayangtse Monastery - Oldest Buddhist Monastery Sikkim

The Pemayangtse Monastery is a Buddhist monastery near Pelling in the northeastern Indian state of Sikkim. It is located 110 km west of Gangtok. The Pemayangtse Monastery is one of the oldest and premier monasteries of Sikkim. The monastery follows the Nyingma Order of Tibetan Buddhism and controls all other monasteries of that Order in Sikkim. The monks of this monastery are normally chosen from the Bhutias of Sikkim. The word Pemayangtse mean ‘Perfect Sublime Lotus’ and it is a famous tourist attraction and widely visited by many travellers all year round.

History of The Pemayangtse Monastery

The monastery was built for "pure monks" (ta-tshang) meaning "monks of pure lineage", celibate and without any physical abnormality. This practice is still retained. Only the monks of Pemayangtse Monastery are entitled to the title "ta-tshang". The head lama of this monastery had the unique privilege of anointing the Chogyals of the erstwhile monarchy of Sikkim with holy water. Pemayangtse means "Perfect Sublime Lotus", and is said to represent one of the four plexus of the human body. It started with a small shrine called 'Tsangkhang', which was founded by Lhatsun Chhenpo between 1650 and 1651 AD.

Architecture of The Pemayangtse Monastery

The Pemayangtse Monastery located on a hill top in the west district of Sikkim is at the beginning of the popular Dzongri trek route, is built with scenic backdrop of snow-capped mountains on two sides. The Monastery offers a meditative environ quietly set amidst woods. It is a perfect place to relax in solitary and listen to the sounds of nature. Being around 300 years old, it is a must visit place as it offers the reflection of the rich architecture and the unwavering faith of the Buddhist followers.
Built as a three storied structure depicts paintings on its walls and has many statues of saints and Rinpoches, including Padmasambhava (Lotus Born). The main statue of Padmasambahva also known as Guru Rinpoche who revived Buddhism in Tibet and was also the propagator of Vajrayana or tantric form of Buddhism seen here is in his wrathful form as Dorje Bhurpa Vjarakila with multiple heads and arms. It also has several antique idols and scriptures. The main prayer hall is decorated with paintings and also the doors and windows are beautifully painted in traditional Tibetan design.

Festival of The Pemayangtse Monastery


The Cham dance festival is held every year on the 28th and 29th day of the 12th lunar month of the Tibetan calendar, corresponding to February of the Gregorian calendar. It is performed by the lamas of this monastery. The lamas dress up as Mahākāla and Guru Drag-dmar (Sanskrit Vajrakila) in colourful costumes for the dance performance. Pilgrims from all parts of Sikkim visit the monastery to witness this festival.
On this festive occasion, which marks the conclusion of Losar, on the last day of the festival, a very large and impressive embroidered scroll is displayed. Fireworks display is also a part of the concluding function, symbolizing driving away of evil spirits. There are 108 monks in this monastery and they are identified by the red hats that they wear.

Best Time to Visit Pemayangtse Monastery

You can unravel Sikkim’s prime beauty by visiting during the spring-summer season when the sky clears. The best time to visit Pemayangtse Monastery is from March to June.

How to Reach The Pemayangtse Monastery

Pemayangtse Monastery is located near Pelling which is about 2 kilometres and 110 kilometres from the capital city, Gangtok. Plenty of taxi services can be available from these places.

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