Nestled in the snow-capped mountains of Sikkim, a new Buddhist pilgrimage site, home to a 137-ft statue of Chenrezig, is set to woo tourists from November 1, a Sikkim minister said here Tuesday.
According to the Sikkim government, the pilgrim site at Pelling, West Sikkim, will play host to the tallest Chenrezig statue in the world at an elevation of 7,200 metres.
Avalokiteshvara or Chenrezig is the earthly manifestation of the self-born, eternal Buddha, Amitabha.
As part of the state government’s policy to promote Sikkim as a Buddhist Pilgrimage Tourism Circuit, the destination park has been built at Sangha Choeling in Pelling at a cost of Rs 46.65 crore, Tourism Minister Ugen T Gyatso said.
“Building the world’s tallest Chenrezig statue and a new complex, replete with a skywalk, a caf and a gallery, has been a challenging feat for the engineers because of the rough terrain,” he said.
The project, which started in 2009, was consecrated by the Dalai Lama in March earlier this year.
It was funded and constructed under the supervision of the Department of Culture and the Department of Buildings and Housing.
Another official at Chief Minister Pawan Chamling’s office said the Chief Minister had conceptualised the idea of making Sikkim a ‘Shingkham’, meaning paradise, by constructing statues of Lord Buddha and Guru Padmasambhava in the state.
“The popular Buddhist belief is that any altar is incomplete without the presence of statues of Lord Buddha, Guru Padmasambhava and Chenrezig,” he added.
Sikkim has two more Buddhist pilgrimage circuits in south Sikkim–Namchi, home to 135-ft statue of Guru Padmasambhawa and Ravangla, playing host to 130-ft statue of Lord Buddha.