Looking for some peace and quiet? Head to Sikkim, a lovely infant nestled in the lap of nature! This beautiful state is the finest example of nature’s truest blessings bestowed on Mother Earth. Forget about your stress, worries, and tensions and soak in captivating views, mist-covered majestic mountains, morning bliss, dewdrops falling from the edges of emerald green leaves, and sub-zero temperatures. This small state is also known for its spiritual attractions. Dotted with shrines and monasteries, it is a perfect destination for spiritually inclined people. One of the magnificent monasteries one must visit is Tashiding Monastery in Sikkim. It is the holiest monastery in the state and is believed to wash away your sins.
The word ‘Tashiding Monastery’ means ‘elevated glorious white rock’. It means miraculous raising or elevation of the monastery site. Visiting this monastery is considered to be sacred. In essence, seeing is cleansing or washing away sins. There is no need to take a dip in the Holy waters. The path leading to the monastery is bordered with white-coloured prayer flags, gently swaying in the cool breeze. The walls of the monastery are carved with Buddhist chants- “Om Mane Padme Hum.”The whole ambiance oozes positive vibes and helps visitors feel at ease with themselves.
Best Time to Visit Tashiding Monastery
The best time to visit Tashiding Monastery is from March to June. During these months, the weather is pleasant, making it perfect for outdoor activities. Visitors can also visit the monastery during Bumchu Festival. It is celebrated in the months of February or March. The monastery opens from 7 am to 6 pm. Enjoy the serene ambiance of this place and seek wisdom and enlightenment.
History of Tashiding Monastery
Tashiding or the ‘Devoted Central Glory’ is located near Pelling in Sikkim. 19 km from Yuksom, it is a breathtakingly beautiful monastery founded by Ngadak Sempa Chempo Punshok Rigzing in 1641. Standing tall against a snowy backdrop of the soaring Kanchenjunga range, this monastery belonged to the Nyingma sect of Tibetan Buddhism. As the legend goes, Guru Padmasambhava was looking for a serene place for meditation. He shot an arrow into the sky. This arrow dug deep at the site where Tashiding Monastery is standing today.
Another folklore associated with this monastery linked it with the three Buddhist monks who crowned the first King of Sikkim. This coronation ritual took place in Yuksom, which was also the first capital of the Sikkim Kingdom. As per the local beliefs, these monks witnessed a powerful beam of light shooting from Kanchendzonga and then falling on a hill. The monks took it as a divine sign and built the Tashiding Monastery there.
Since the monastery is located at a hillock at a height of 5000 feet, visitors not only enjoy the peace and quiet of the place but the ethereal beauty of the valley nestled between two rivers and overlooking the Kanchenjunga range.
In 1995, the area sustained multiple earthquakes. As a result of which, the walls of the monastery started giving up and the task of rebuilding it was taken up in the same year. The Sikkim Government gave financial help to the monastery management.
Top Attractions in and around Tashiding Monastery
A lovely retreat, Tasiding Monastery is known for its attractive architecture, stunning natural surroundings, and immense spiritual significance. This monastery is home to monks who offer prayers, engage in Buddhist chanting, seek wisdom and enlightenment. While visiting Tashiding Monastery, visitors can also check out other major shrines and attractions in Sikkim and soak in the surreal beauty of this place.
1. Phensang Monastery
Counted among the six biggest monasteries of Sikkim, it is one of the most interesting places to visit near Tashiding Monastery. The vibe of this place is simply brilliant to experience so, any spiritual seeker would find this place filled with intense spiritual possibilities. It was built in 1721 under the rule of Jigme Pawo. This shrine opens from 7 am to 7 pm.
2. Ranka Monastery
The Ranka Monastery is situated at a distance of around 20 km from Gangtok. The monastery is particularly spread in a vast area offering stellar views of nature.
3. Phurchachu Hot Springs
The sacred Phurchachu Hot springs are one of the most amazing tourist spots which you can visit with your loved ones. And the cave which is located here is Kadosangphu, also known as the cave of the occult fairies. This is all the more a reason to visit these amazing springs.
4. Fambong Lho Wildlife Sanctuary
Spread over 20 square miles, (approx) the wildlife sanctuary is just the right place for wildlife photographers and enthusiasts to explore and click memorable pictures. Here you will be finding a great variety of wildlife animals.
5. Namgyal Institute
A famous Tibet Museum in Gangtok, Namgyal Institute of Tibetology is another one of the many tourist attractions in Sikkim. It was founded by Dalai Lama and is the perfect place to visit for those who are curious about Tibetan Buddhism, the history of Tashiding Monastery, and more. The museum stays open from 10 am to 4 pm.
6. Fambonglho Wildlife Sanctuary
A paradise for wildlife lovers, Fambonglho Wildlife Sanctuary is the perfect place to spot some of the rarest species of wildlife, indigenous to Sikkim. An embodiment of serenity, peace, and quiet, this wildlife sanctuary is located 20 km from Gangtok. Sprawled in a vast expanse of 52 sq. km., it is a lovely sanctuary.
7. Bumchu Festival
Bumchu Festival is celebrated in Tashiding Monastery on the 14th and 15th day of the first Tibetan month as per its calendar. The word ‘Bumchu’ is derived from two words- ‘bum’ means a pot and ‘chu’ means water. During this festival, a sacred pot of holy water housed in the sanctuary is taken out. This festival is attended by thousands of Buddhist monks from all over the world who witness the opening of the sealed pot and check the level of water. It is believed that the water level in the pot helps in predicting how prosperous the upcoming year is going to be. A fully filled pot signifies a very prosperous year ahead. Conversely, a low level signifies famine. If the water is dusty, it means a year full of clash and chaos.
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How To Reach Tashiding Monastery
Steeped in mythology, a visit to Tashiding Monastery is a must for both spiritually inclined and nature loving visitors. Its unique location makes it one of the most picturesque attractions in Sikkim. People love visiting it for its spiritual significance and scenic views. The monastery is located close to Pelling, one of the towns in Sikkim. It is easy to access Tashiding Monastery using diverse modes of transport. Here is how you can reach this attraction.
By Air. The nearest airport to reach Gangtok is Bagdogra Airport in West Bengal which is located 138 km away from Tashiding Monastery. It serves the city and nearby areas. Although Sikkim has its own airport, referred to as Pakyong Airport, it has limited flight connections as of now. Bagdogra Airport, on the other hand, offers several flight options, making it convenient for visitors. After deboarding the flight, visitors can hire a taxi or a cab to reach Tashiding Monastery. They can also arrive at Gangtok by private and state-run buses.
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By Train. There is good connectivity of train routes from New Jalpaiguri Railway Station from all parts of the country. From the Railway Station, tourists can take a cab or just a walk to the center of the town. State-run and private buses are also available to help passengers reach Tashiding Monastery from New Jalpaiguri, Siliguri.
By Road. Depending on your geographical location, you can consider traveling to Tashiding Monastery by road as well. The overall road network which includes national highways is well-maintained and easily accessible. As per your convenience, you can choose to travel by state-run buses, cabs, or by your personal vehicles as well.
Frequently Asked Questions About Tashiding Monastery
Ques 1. What makes Tashiding Monastery famous?
Ans 1. The word ‘Tashiding Monastery’ means ‘elevated glorious white rock’. It means miraculous raising or elevation of the monastery site. Visiting this monastery is considered to be sacred. In essence, seeing is cleansing or washing away sins.
Ques 2. What is the best time to visit Tashiding Monastery?
Ans 2. The best time to visit Tashiding Monastery is from March to June. During these months, the weather is pleasant, making it perfect for outdoor activities. Visitors can also visit the monastery during Bumchu Festival. It is celebrated in the months of February or March.
Ques 3. Which is the closest airport to Tashiding Monastery?
Ans 3. The closest airport to reach Tashiding Monastery is Bagdogra Airport. The airport is just 138 kilometers away from the monastery.
Ques 4. Why is Bumchu Festival celebrated?
Ans 4. Bumchu Festival is celebrated in Tashiding Monastery on the 14th and 15th day of the first Tibetan month as per its calendar. During this festival, a sacred pot of holy water housed in the sanctuary is taken out. This festival is attended by thousands of Buddhist monks from all over the world who witness the opening of the sealed pot and check the level of water. It is believed that the water level in the pot helps in predicting how prosperous the upcoming year is going to be.
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