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Saturday, July 20, 2024

Sanga Choeling Gompa


Sanga Choeling Gompa one of the many Gompa of Sikkim, is situated on a ridge opposite the Pemayangtse Monastery. From distance, the monastery seems as if it is balancing on a hill and the mountains in the background make for a pleasant environment. Constructed in the 17th century, Sanga Choeling Monastery is one of the oldest in Sikkim and attracts numerous devotees and tourists from all around the globe.
Commonly called the ‘place of secret spells’, one reaches Sanga Choeling by walking through a forest of thick deciduous trees. The 4 km walk through a shaft of vegetation leads to the manicured courtyard of the temple. For those interested in ancient Tibetan architecture, this monastery is a must-visit.
The monks in this monastery follow the Nyingma tradition, the most ancient school of Tibetan Buddhism. A recurring ritual, that takes place on the 10th day of every month (according to the Tibetan calendar), involves lamas chanting hymns and prayers in the inner sanctum of the monastery.
From the outside, one can take in the modest style of Tibetan architecture. Sanga Choeling Monastery contains ancient 17th-century pottery statues. Statues of Padmasambhava, Sakyamuni, and Vajrasattava are also present and the walls are painted with colorful depictions of Buddhist deities. An intricate painting of a bhava chakra, Wheel of Life, is an important addition to this ancient religious structure.
It should be noted that only the Bhutia and Lepcha communities are allowed to enter the inner sanctum of this gompa.
Like all monasteries in Sikkim, Sanga Choeling was constructed with the natural surroundings in mind. As you stare at the mountainous backdrop, the gompa fits perfectly into the frame that only nature could have conspired.

When to reach

Since the monastery is located on a ridge, it offers a brilliant view of the Himalayan Range. The best time to visit is winter when you will get to see Pelling covered in snow and the mountains look like white towers rising into the mist.
The summer months offer a clearer view of the Pemayangtse Monastery on the opposite hill. The scenic view of the mountains is better than any postcard you will ever receive.
The beauty of Sikkim has different sides depending on when you visit. The summer months draw the most number of travelers because of easy accessibility. However, if you’re up for a real adventure, plan your trip between November to February.
The monastery opens its doors to visitors from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Make sure you land up before the sun goes down to take in the scenic surroundings.

How to reach

If you’re covering the heritage circuit of Sikkim, Sanga Choeling Gompa should be visited right after Pemayangtse. Both these monasteries are located in Pelling, a western town, about 135 km from Gangtok. If you’re in a group, your best option is to hire a cab. However, solo travelers should try and hook up a shared cab to cut down on traveling costs.
A brisk walk of around 2 km from the Upper Pelling football field will take you to the entrance of this gompa.

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