also called Guru Rinpoche, who was the restorer of
Buddhism in Tibet, and the main exponent of Tantric form
of Buddhism, had prophesied during his visit to Tibet in
the 8th Century A.D. that amongst the holy hidden lands
or sBESgNES, which was personally consecrated by him,
BES-YUL Dremojong (Sikkim), was the holiest.
Here he had hidden a vast religious treasure, including
holy books to be discovered and interpreted, in future,
by great saints. It was the fulfillment of this prophecy
when Lhatsun Namkha Jigme or Lhatsun Chempo, Kathok
Rikzin Chempo and Nagadak Sampa Chempo (the Yuksam) came
to Sikkim to propagate Buddhism and set the history of
the rNal-jor Ched-Shi.
Lhatsun Namkha Jigme (meaning The Reverend Lord Who
Fears Not The Sky-with reference to his powers to fly)
or Kunzang Namgyal (The Entirely Victorious Essence of
Goodness) which is his common name, was born in Tibet in
the Fire-Bird year of the 10th of the
sixty year cycles corresponding to 1597 A.D. He came to Sikkim
from the north direction via Dzongri to Norbugang. In Sikkim, he
was received by the Lepcha Chief Thekung Mensalong, the
consecrated host. Kathok Rikzin Kuntu Zangpo came from the west
direction and Ngakak Sempa Rikzin Phuntsog came from the south
direction. All the three of them met at Norbugang which was then
called by the Lepchas as YUKSAM, meaning the three superior ones
or literally meaning ''the three lamas'. These three lamas
invited Phuntsog Namgyal from the east direction, and
consecrated him as the first Chogyal of Sikkim in 1642 A.D, at
Yuksam, where the stone throne of these four brothers, known as
rNal-Jor Ched-Shi, can be seen even today.
Lhatsun Chempo was largely responsible for consolidating
Buddhism in Sikkim. He first built Dubdi Monastery near Yuksam.
Later, he build shrines at Sa-nga-choe-ling and Pemayangtse. He
spent his years in Sikkim mostly exploring caves, mountain
recesses and holy places, composing, Buddhist legends and
selecting sites for shrines, chortens (stupas) and monasteries.
After his death, his personal effects were carefully treasured
and worshipped by the Sikkimese as religious objects. By the
time of his death, Buddhism had steadily progressed in Sikkim
and the monasteries then belonged to Nyingma order and its sub
sects. It was during and subsequent to the reign of the fourth
Chogyal Gyurmed Namgyal that the first Kagyu monastery came into
existence. Since then many large and small monasteries belonging
to the two sects have been build influencing the cultural
heritage and lifestyle of the people.
Duddul Chorten at Dotapu Chorten, Gangtok was built under the
supervision of the late Most Venerable Trulshi Rinpoche after
due preparations in 1945-46, in accordance with the prophecy
made in 1944 by His Holiness the Dud-Zom Rinpoche. Placed inside
the Chorten are a complete mandala set of Dorji Phurpa (Bajra
Kilaya), one set of Ka-gyur Holy Books, relics, complete 'zung[
(mantras) and other religious objects. This Chorten is
considered to be one of the most important chortens of Sikkim.
Around the Chorten is installed 108 Mani-Lhakor (Prayer Wheels),
The Chorten is surrounded by Chorten Lhakhang, Guru Lhakhang,
where two huge statues of Guru Rinpoche (Guru Padmasambhava) are
installed, Drupda (Meditation Centre), Nyingma Sheda (Institute
of Nyingma Higher Studies) and many smaller monuments including
the 'kudung' of the late Most Venerable Trulshi Rinpoche. The
Sikkim Research Institute of Tibetology and other Buddhist
Studies (SRITOBS) is located near the Chorten.
His Eminence Dodrup Chen Rinpoche of Sikkim has His seat at the
Chorten Lhakhang and guides the disciples, including the inmates
of the Drubda, in their search for higher knowledge and practice
of the tenets of the Nyingma Order.
Pemayangtse is situated in West Sikkim at Gyalshing (140 Kms
from Gangtok) and commands an impressive view of Mount
Khangchendzonga. It was originally a small Lhakhang built by
Lhatsun Chempo in the 17th Century.
Later during the rule of the third Chogyal Chakdor Namgyal,
Lhatsun Chempo's third reincarnate Jigme Pawo extended it and
rebuilt the structure. This monastery belongs to the Nyingma
order and all other Nyingma monasteries in Sikkim are
subordinate to it. The monks of Pemayangtse are usually from the
leading Bhutia families in Sikkim. There are 108 monks in this
The monastery houses numerous religious idols and other objects
of worship, most of which are precious because of their
antiquity. On the top floor of the monastery there is a wooden
sculpture depicting the Mahaguru's Heavenly Palace 'Sangthokpalri'.
This masterpiece was completed by the late Dungzin Rimpoche, who
took 5 years to craft it single handed. The main festival of the
monastery is on the 28th and 29th day of the 12th month of the
Tibetan Calendar, normally corresponding to the month of
February. During these two days religious dances are performed
and pilgrims come from all over Sikkim to watch them.
monastery in North Sikkim is 28 kms from Gangtok. The original
monastery has been rebuilt and is today one of the most
beautiful monasteries in Sikkim. It possesses the old mural
paintings and has around 260 monks. Like Ralong and Rumtek the
main annual Puja is performed on the 28th and 29th days of the
tenth month of the Tibetan Calendar when the religious dances
The original Rumtek monastery build by the fourth Chogyal was
damaged by an earthquake, although it has been rebuilt since.
The 16th Gyalwa Karmapa, after he escaped from Tibet, settled
here and lived in this monastery till the completion of
the Dharma Chakra Centre nearby. The annual dances are held on
the 28th and 29th day of the tenth month of the Tibetan
Lama Drupthob Karpo is supposed to have built a small hermitage
at the spot he reached after he flew from Maynam Hill in South
Sikkim. Later during the reign of Sidyong Tulku 1909 - 1910 the
present monastery was built in the shape of a Chinese pagoda.
The monastery follows the Nyingma Order and has around 90 monks.
The annual puja is celebrated with dances on the 18th and 19th
days of the twelfth month of the Tibetan Calendar which normally
corresponds to the month of January. The monastery was damaged
by an earthquake in 1980 and with Government aid has recently
This monastery was built in 1721 during the time of Jigme Pawo.
In 1947 it was completely gutted by a devastating fire. However
it was rebuilt in 1948 thanks largely to the devotion of the
lamas and the unstinted support of the laity. There are around
300 monks under the monastery and main annual function in the
monastery is on the 28th and 29th days of the tenth month of the
Tibetan calendar which normally corresponds to the month of
The fourth Chogyal of Sikkim, who was born in 1710, disguised
himself as a common man and proceeded on a pilgrimage to Tibet.
When he reached Tsurphu, the seat of His Holiness Gyalwa Karmapa-
The Karmapa recognized the Chogyal and accorded him the royal
welcome commensurate with his position. The Chogyal in turn
promised that on his return to Sikkim he would build Kagyupa
monasteries and so were built Karma Rabtenling monastery in
Ralong, Karma Thupten Chokhorling monastery in Rumtek and Karma
Tashi Chokhorling monastery in Phodang.
Tashiding Monastery was built at the spot on top of a hill
between Rangit and Ratong rivers, where a rainbow emanating from
Mount Khangchendzonga came to an end. At first a small Lhakhang
was built by Nagadak Sempa Chempo in the
17th Century. The main monastery was built by Pedi Wangmo during
the reign of Chakdor Namgyal and some of the statuses built then
still exist. The sacred objects of worship in Tashiding are the
chorten Thongwa Rangdol and Bumchu (holy water). The chorten was
built by Lhatsun Chempo and it is believed that merely to view
the chorten is enough to cleanse one of all sins.
Bumchu is a sacred pot containing holy water blessed by Nagadak
Sempa Chempo, after he had performed the Mane Mantra prayers 5
billion times. The holy water does not dry up nor spoil and
continues to have the fresh smell even 300 years. Later. The
sacred Bumpa containing the water is kept under seal and opened
for public darshan once a year on the 15th day of the first
Tibetan month. The monastery houses about 60 monks and belongs
to the Nyingma Order.