COVID-19 Advisory

Pemayangtse Monastery

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.
Image by @thatgoangirl, Instagram
If, in your course, you don’t meet; Your equal, your better; Then continue your course, firmly alone. There is no fellowship with fools.
Built for ta-tshang or ‘pure monks’ in the times of the monarchy in Sikkim, the monastery’s head lama received the unique privilege of anointing the Chogyals with holy water. The Nyingma Order of Tibetan Buddhism is followed by the Pemayangtse Monastery and hence it controls all the monasteries following the same order in Sikkim.
Image by Pemayangtse Shedra, Facebook
An old dated photograph of Sangdok palri at Pemayangste from 1972, depicting the cultural enigma and elegance that has remain synonymous with Buddhism for decades.

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.”

Image by @kaechong, Instagram
The beautiful Zangdok Palri at Pemayangtse Monastery that often leaves visitors and tourists in absolute awe of the legacy and culture in Buddhism.

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.

Image by Pemayangtse Shedra, Facebook
The second head lama Ven yap Palden lama (Dorchung) perform Shanak Dorlop ritual dance. Visitors and tourists travel from all over the world to witness this annual affair.

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.

Image by @sudeep_sasidharan, Instagram

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

Pemayangtse is blessed with astonishing beauty being situated among picturesque mountains, exotic greenwoods and glaciers which makes it one of the most well-known Sikkim destinations.

Explore Pelling Destinations