The Pemayangtse Monastery is a Buddhist monastery in Pemayangtse, near Pelling
in the northeastern Indian state of Sikkim
, located 140 kilometres (87 mi) west of Gangtok
.Planned, designed and founded by Lama Lhatsun Chempo in 1705, it is one of the oldest and premier monasteries of Sikkim. It is not only one of the oldest monasteries of Sikkim but also the most famous in west Sikkim.
Originally built by Lhatsun Chenpo in the 17th century, as a small Lhakhang, it was subsequently enlarged during the reign of the third Chogyal Chakdor Namgyal who was considered as Lhatsun Chenpo's third reincarnate, Jigme Pawo.The monastery follows the Nyingma Order of Tibet Buddhism and controls all other monasteries of that Order in Sikkim. The monks of this monastery are normally chosen from the Bhutias of Sikkim.The Pemayangtse Monastery is part of Buddhist religious pilgrimage circuit starting with the first monastery at Yuksom
known as the Dubdi Monastery
, followed by Norbugang Chorten, Tashiding
Monastery, the Rabdentse
ruins, the Sanga Choeling Monastery
, and the Khecheopalri Lake
The monastery located on a hill top in the west district of Sikkim is at the beginning of the popular Dzongri trek route - Yuksom-Dzongri-GoechhaLa is a trek of 46 km, which was started prior to 1960 and which is the most popular trek in Sikkim) to the Kanchendzonga range of hills and Kanchendzonga National Park (KNP). It is 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) away from Geyzing
on the main Pelling road and 44 km away from Pelling.The view of Mount Khanchendzonga is said to be a commanding and impressive view from this monastery.
The monastery, located at an elevation of 2085 m, is built with scenic backdrop of snow capped mountains on two sides. Built as a three storied structure, the monastery depicts paintings on its walls and statues of saints and Rinpoches, deified in various floors. The monastery was damaged by earthquakes in 1913 and 1960. However, it has been refurbished several times. The monastery belongs to the Nyingma order (established in the 8th century by Padmasambhava
) and characteristic feature seen in this monastery is of statues of Padmasambahva and his two consorts.
In the main prayer hall (1,500 square feet (140 m sq) area), the Dukhang or Lakhang, the main temple, which has colourfully painted doors and windows, depict Tibetan designs. The main statue of Padmasambahva (also known as Guru Rinpoche who revived Buddhism in Tibet and was also the propagator of Vajrayana or tantric form of Buddhism ) seen here is in his wrathful form as Dorje Bhurpa Vjarakila with multiple heads and arms.
The Chaam festival (monk dance) is held every year, on the 28th and 29th day of the 12th lunar month of the Tibetan Calendar corresponding to February of the Gregorian calendar. It is performed by the lamas of this monastery. The lamas dress up as Mahakala and Guru Drag-dmar in colourful costumes for the dance performance. Pilgrims from all parts of Sikkim visit the monastery to witness this festival.