AN ELGIN EXCLUSIVE FEATURE By Garima Singh & Aishwarya Bhatt
The Pemayangtse Monastery is one of the oldest and premier monasteries of Sikkim. Located right opposite The Elgin Mount Pandim, it was built by Lhatsun Chenpo in the 17th century originally. The monastery has a unique depth in its name. The term Pemayangtse means “Perfect Sublime Lotus”, and is said to symbolise one of the four plexus of the human body.
‘If, in your course, you don’t meet; your equal, your better; Then continue your course, firmly alone. There is no fellowship with fools.’ Dhammapada Verse: 61
The three-storied structure depicts paintings on its walls and statues of saints and Rinpoches, deified on various floors. Padmasambhava’s eight incarnations in the fierce form are also seen here.
Kae Chong, Buddhism and Shamanism practitioner talks about his visit to the monastery and how he got to witness the supernatural phenomenon, “Zangdok Palri, the celestial realm for Guru Padmasambhava. In Guru’s teaching, achieving a rainbow body is very significant. When someone passes away and his body transforms into Rainbow means that he is liberated from the samsara.”
On the 28th and 29th day of the 12th lunar month of the Tibetan calendar, corresponding to February of the Gregorian calendar, The Cham dance festival is held. It is performed by the lamas of this monastery where they dress up as Mahākāla and Guru Drag-dmar (Sanskrit Vajrakila) in colourful costumes for the dance performances.
The festival marks the conclusion of Losar (new year’s festival) and pilgrims come from all parts of Sikkim to visit the monastery to witness this festival. A very large and impressive embroidered scroll is displayed and a firework display is done which symbolizes driving away evil spirits. The 108 monks of monastery are distinguishable as they wear red hats unlike yellow worn by other monasteries.
The monastery is located at the beginning of the most popular trek in Sikkim, “Dzongri trek route, Yuksom-Dzongri-GoechhaLa” which is a trek of 46 km to the Kanchendzonga range of hills and Kanchendzonga National Park (KNP), started prior to 1960.
March to June is considered to be the most favourable months to visit Pemayangtse because of the pleasing weather. During the cold days, this place turns even more alluring or one might say mythical but the temperature can be as low as -5C.
The paintings, the beauty that is in the architecture of the monastery and the tranquil that is felt within its walls are surmounted with the view of Mount Kanchenjunga.
Dzongri Trek, Sikkim – The trek is often dubbed as ‘walking in Paradise’ and can be safely said that it is a traveler’s delight. As you continue your trek you will come across the sights of the milky white peaks all around Dzongri. Treat your eyes to the view of the mountains with a patchwork of green and gold streaked with blue made by the snow-capped mountains at the distance. As you keep continuing your trek you will also come across some rare birds and animal species which will make you want to explore more and more – @staydelight, Instagram