Strategically rested on a magnificent ridge in the north of Gangtok, the Enchey Monastery lives up to its name. The monastery views the city of Gangtok and offers a beautiful glimpse of the snow-covered crowns of the Kanchendzonga on a sunny day. Originally built in 1840, Enchey is one of the most important chairs of the Nyingma order, the oldest of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism. Deeply respected amongst the locals, the alteration of Gangtok from a hamlet to a major town over the course of the last century can notably be connected to the monastery’s establishment.
It was renovated in 1908 to resemble a Chinese pagoda, during the reign of the 10th Chogyal of Sikkim. Elaborately carved pillars maintain the large prayer hall while its walls are covered in splendid decorations depicting the pantheon of Mahayana deities. The monastery also possesses a glorious collection of masks that are often used for Cham dances during festivals. Unfortunately, some portions of the monastery suffered severe damage during the earthquake of 2011.
When to reach
The renowned Detor Cham ritual dance of Enchey is an experience of a lifetime. Usually held sometime between the months of January and February, the festival sees some exciting performances by resident monks dressed in elegant costumes and fantastic masks.
How to reach
Located on the road that leads to Nathula from Gangtok, the best way to reach Enchey Monastery is by foot if you don’t mind walking, for the route is blessed with some stunning vistas of the surrounding mountains. However, there are cabs available for hire from Gangtok.