Rumtek Monastery

Rumtek Monastery

The serene landlocked state Sikkim is endowed with rich flora and fauna and is known for housing many religious centers. Perched on the hilltop at an altitude of 5800ft amidst the alpine forest overlooking the bustling town Gangtok is a Tibetan styled monastery called Rumtek Monastery. Rumtek Monastery is also known as the Dharma Chakra Centre of Sikkim. Located 24km from Gangtok, Rumtek Monastery is the largest monastery of Sikkim where the monks perform sacred rituals and practices of Karma Kagyu lineage. Rumtek Monastery houses the seat of his holiness, the XVIth Gyawla Karmapa, the head of the Karma Kagyu order of Tibetan Buddhism. It is a near-replica of the Kagyu headquarters in Tibet.

Built in 1960 by the Gyawla Karmapa, Rumtek Monastery is famous among the visitors for its fine architecture. Surrounded by the lofty mountains dotted with pine trees, the journey towards Rumtek Monastery in itself is an unforgettable experience. Driving through the spiraling road while being accompanied with the scenic view of changing landscape of paddy fields and lush pine trees, the blissful journey towards Rumtek Monastery is a visual treat for the tourist. The misty hill top where the magnificent Rumtek Monastery is residing offers a panoramic vista of Gangtok town, river streams meandering down the mountains valley and looming figure of snow capped Himalayan Mountains, a sight which adds up to the charm of Rumtek Monastery. The three stories Rumtek Monastery house some of the rarest Buddhist religious artifacts in the world in forms of thankas and murals. The ground floor of the Rumtek Monastery has a large prayer hall. The hall has large hand painted and intricate wall murals, thankas, silk paintings and statues. Apart from thankas, mural and silk paintings, Rumtek Monastery has some artifacts which belonged to the Gyawla Karmapa and one of them is a hat. The legend says that after the first Karmapa ended his long years of meditation in a cave, he was greeted by 1000 fairies each one of them gave him a strand of their hair. All those hairs were woven into a hat. Now the hat is kept in a box or held by someone because it is said if the hat is left ideally it would fly off. Along with mythical flying hat Rumtek Monastery also houses Vajra Mukut, a black hat studded with precious gems, diamond and gold. Vajra Mukut was presented to the 5th Karmapa in 15th century by the then emperor of China. Being sited on a scenically blessed hilltop, tourists are not only lured towards Rumtek for its pictorial scenery and architecture but the main attraction, however, is the Rumtek Monastery, seat of His Holiness the Gyalwa Karmapa of the Kagyu sect of Buddhism. On the backside of Rumtek Monastery tourist can see a stairway which leads them to the Nalanda Institute of Higher Buddhist Studies. The institute houses a golden stupa of 16th Karmapa which is made of pure gold.The valley surrounding the Rumtek Monastery offers few walking trails through the dense forest of alpine tree where tourists with keen eyes will spot some Himalayan birds. From a quaint forest walk to precious hat and astounding murals, Rumtek Monastery has it all.

Plunge yourself in the serene ambiance of Rumtek Monastery while being awe-inspired by the surreal view of adjacent valley, Rumtek Monastery with its astounding architecture and pictorial view has lured travelers traveling to Sikkim towards it.Far from the hassle of rambunctious life Rumtek Monastery with its finest collection of religious artworks, offers insight of the Buddhist culture to the tourist who wants to learn more about the religious practice followed during 16th century.

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