Enchey Monastery: Heaven for enlightenment in Gangtok
History and Architecture
Enchey Monastery was established in the late 19th century by Lama Dhrupthob Karpo, a renowned Buddhist master who was also the founder of the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. The original structure was a small hermitage, which was later expanded into a monastery by his disciple, Lama Tsultrim Dorjee.
The monastery’s architecture is a blend of Tibetan and Sikkimese styles, with a distinctive pagoda-style roof and intricate wood carvings adorning the façade. The main prayer hall houses a statue of Guru Rinpoche (also known as Padmasambhava), who is revered as the patron saint of Sikkim. The walls are adorned with intricate murals depicting Buddhist deities and scenes from the life of Guru Rinpoche.
Enchey Monastery holds a special place in the hearts of the local people, who believe that it is a powerful source of positive energy and blessings. The monastery is particularly significant for followers of the Nyingma tradition, who consider it to be one of the most important pilgrimage sites in Sikkim.
The monastery is also known for its annual Cham dance festival, which takes place on the 18th and 19th days of the 12th lunar month (usually around December). The Cham dance is a traditional Tibetan dance performed by monks dressed in elaborate costumes and masks, and is believed to ward off evil spirits and bring good luck and prosperity.
Visiting Enchey Monastery
Enchey Monastery is located just 3 km from the heart of Gangtok, and can be easily accessed by taxi or on foot. Visitors are welcome to explore the monastery and its surroundings, but are expected to dress modestly and behave respectfully.
The monastery is open from 6 am to 6 pm, and visitors are advised to plan their visit accordingly to avoid the crowds. It is also recommended to visit the monastery during one of its annual festivals, when the atmosphere is especially vibrant and festive.
In conclusion, Enchey Monastery is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in exploring the rich spiritual and cultural heritage of Sikkim. With its serene surroundings, intricate architecture, and profound spiritual significance, it is a place that is sure to leave a lasting impression on visitors of all backgrounds and beliefs.