Temples, Shrines And Spiritual Places Across Sikkim
Sikkim is an abode of beauty, adorned with glistening high-altitude lakes, rolling green mountains, rhododendron groves, lush greenery, rivers, waterfalls and vivid monasteries. Besides being known for its unique biodiversity, Sikkim also features unique culture-ethnicity and traditions. This is mostly due to the influence from its neighboring countries like Nepal, Bhutan, and Tibet, with which it shares its borders.
The Tibetan name for Sikkim is ‘Drenjong’, which means the ‘Valley of Rice’. It is a landlocked state located in the Himalayan mountains famous for its incredible view of the third highest mountain in the world, i.e. Mount Kanchenjunga. The state brings harmony to indigenous Tibetian Buddhism and Nepalese Hinduism. It appears as a beautiful culmination of different colours, exhibiting folk dances, religious festivals, and tribal harmony.
Hindu Temples in Sikkim arose as a synthesis of Nepal with indigenous Hinduism in India and attract a plethora of pilgrims each year. The Hanuman Tok is one of the most important Hindu shrines in Sikkim. Dedicated to Lord Hanuman, it is often believed that wishes are fulfilled if devotees worship with a pure mind. The Indian army manages this Temple welfare.
The Thakurbari Mandir is one of the most ancient pilgrimages of the town. It is dedicated to the major deities of the Hindu pantheon and local deities in the culture of Sikkim. Every year, this temple organizes a lavish Chhath Puja.
The Kirateswar Mahadev Mandir at Legship is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The Kiratis constructed this temple to worship Lord Shiva in the incarnation of a hunter. Temples like the Solophok Chardham are also dedicated to Lord Shiva and worships Lord Kirateswar. Set in Southern Sikkim, this temple is a bliss to the devotees in culminating the ambiance of peace at the hilltop and ensuring the promotion of indigenous cultures. Shirdi Sai Mandir, Samdruptse Shiva Mandir are other important temples in Sikkim.
Majority of residents in Sikkim follow Buddhism. This can be speculated from myriads of unique monasteries and Buddhist cultures. The southern part of Sikkim is blessed with the Buddha Park Ravangla. Constructed in the year 2006, this landmark serves as a homage to Lord Buddha. A 130-foot tall statue stands erect and is surrounded by a peaceful ecological park.
The Rumtek monastery is one of the largest monasteries of Sikkim. Founded in the 16th century by Wangchuk Dorje (9th Karmapa Lama), this monastery aims in promoting Buddhist teachings and encouraging the spread of Buddhism. The architectural features are inspired by the Tibetan school of art.
The Pemayangtse Monastery at Pelling, located in western Sikkim is the second oldest monastery in Sikkim and aims in giving devotees a meditative environment amidst the woods. The presence of several antique idols, old relics, scriptures, statues of Buddhist saints, including Padmasambhava (the Lotus One) adorns the monastery. ‘The ruins of Rabdantse’ is experienced by the devotees from this monastery.
Monasteries like Tashiding Monastery, Yuksom celebrate the festival of Bhumchhu in accordance with the Tibetan calendar. Several other monasteries like the Tashding Monastery, Lachen monastery, Labrrang monastery, etc. ensure to imbibe purity of spirit and religion.
Gurdwaras of historical significance emerged in Sikkim in the 16th century. Gurdwara Guru Dongmar, located in North Sikkim is said to be the site where Guru Nanak paid his third Udasi to support the Kara-pa Nying sects who were hunted down in Tibet by the Ge-lug-pa sect. Guru Dongmar refers to the lake, along with the glacial peak of religious significance, situated at an altitude of 18,000 feet. Guru Nanak is said to have visited this region in 1516 AD and ensured the safety of his followers.
Gurdwara Nanalama Sahib, located in Chungthang, North Sikkim is one of those pilgrimages that is called ‘the wonders of nature. This gurdwara is a confluence of the two tributaries of River Teesta- River Lachen and River Lachung Chu. Legend suggests that it was one of the places where Guru Nanak Dev Ji visited on his religious trip to China and Tibet. In the gurdwara complex, there is a tree, which was supposed to be the walking stick of Guru Nanak, who had himself fixed it in that place. Presently, the truck of the tree resembles that of a stick and the leaves appear rounded.
Sikkim lies in the blissful lap of the eastern Himalayas, and is one of the few states in India to receive regular snowfall. Sikkim is among India’s most environmentally conscious states with fully organic agriculture and farming. It also accounts for the largest share of cardamom production in India. Surrounded by greenery and natural silence, Sikkim tells the tales of mysticism and religion by means of its pilgrimages.