Enchey Monastery, established in 1909 above Gangtok, Sikkim, is a significant Buddhist monastery belonging to the Nyingma order of Vajrayana Buddhism. It is situated on a hill ridge with panoramic views of the Kanchendzonga range. The monastery’s sacredness is linked to the belief that protective deities reside there.
Enchey Monastery Gangtok Sikkim
Legend has it that Guru Padmasambhava subdued powerful spirits at this site. The monastery is adorned with images of deities and has a large prayer hall featuring intricate paintings and murals. The original monastery was built in the 1840s by the eighth Chogyal, but the present structure was constructed in 1909.
It houses 90 monks and is characterized by its golden cupola, ornately carved windows, and serene atmosphere created by fluttering prayer flags. Festivals like Detor Cham, Singhe Chaam, and Pang Lhabsol are celebrated here with colorful mask dances representing Tibetan deities. Although the monastery faced damage and fire in the past, it was rebuilt with the support of devotees.
The structure is double-storied, with masonry walls and timber frames. The Cham dance festivals, held in January and February, showcase ornate robes and mask dances representing spiritual symbolism. These celebrations are held before the Tibetan and Sikkimese New Year.
Things to do in Gangtok
Enchey Monastery is a significant Buddhist monastery located in Gangtok, Sikkim, India. It’s a serene and spiritual place with a unique ambience. Here are some things you can do near Enchey Monastery and in the surrounding area:
1. Explore Enchey Monastery: Spend time exploring the Enchey Monastery itself. The intricate architecture, vibrant prayer flags, and peaceful atmosphere make it a great place for meditation and reflection.
2. Visit Ganesh Tok: This is a small temple dedicated to Lord Ganesh, offering panoramic views of Gangtok and the surrounding mountains. It’s a short drive or hike from Enchey Monastery.
3. Hike to Hanuman Tok: Hanuman Tok is a temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman, situated at a higher elevation than Ganesh Tok. The hike is not very strenuous and offers stunning vistas of the town and the Himalayas.
4. Rumtek Monastery: This is one of the most important monasteries in Sikkim, located a bit further from Gangtok. It’s the seat of the Karmapa, the head of the Kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism. The architecture and the surrounding scenery are worth a visit.
5. Namgyal Institute of Tibetology: This institute houses an impressive collection of Tibetan artifacts, including rare manuscripts, statues, thangkas (Tibetan traditional paintings), and more. It’s a great place to learn about Tibetan culture and history.
6. Do-Drul Chorten Stupa: This stupa is one of the most important stupas in Sikkim. It’s surrounded by 108 prayer wheels, and spinning them is believed to be equivalent to chanting the mantra inscribed on them.
7. Tashi View Point: For stunning sunrise views, visit Tashi View Point early in the morning. On clear days, you can see the Kanchenjunga mountain range from here.
8. Visit MG Road: This is the main market area of Gangtok, lined with shops, cafes, and restaurants. It’s a great place to stroll, shop for souvenirs, and enjoy local cuisine.
9. Explore the Flower Exhibition Center: If you’re interested in flowers, this center showcases a variety of orchids and other Himalayan flora. The best time to visit is during the flower show in the spring.
10. Adventure Activities: Depending on your interests, you can also explore adventure activities like paragliding, river rafting, and hiking in the nearby areas.
Remember that Sikkim is a sensitive ecological region, so it’s important to be respectful of the local culture and environment during your visit. Always check the local guidelines and regulations before planning your activities.