For those who have risked the slopes, visited the points, and enjoyed in the natural beauty of Sikkim, the Gonjang Monastery will turn out to be the ideal end to a fruitful day. The monastery was blessed by the Dalai Lama and its closeness to Gangtok makes it a favorite with travelers. Situated at an altitude of 6066 ft, established in 1981, Gonjang Gompa is home to some of the most unique religious artifacts you will find in a monastery belonging to the Nyingma Order of Buddhism.
What to see
The first artifacts worth checking out are the idols of Khen-lop-Choe-Sum, the 8th-century founding fathers of Tibetan Buddhism. Don’t miss the engraved statues of Padmasambhava’s twenty-five disciples, collectively known as, Jebang Nyernga. They were prominent disciples of Padmasambhava who received direct communications from the enlightened Buddhist master.
Gonjang Monastery was established by Tingkye Gonjang Rimpoche who was accepted as an incarnation of Yelmo Tertön Ngakchang Shakya Zangpo, a Nyingma tertön from the 15th century. A tertön, according to Tibetan Buddhism, is a person who uncovers terma, or hidden teachings. Several tertöns are regarded as incarnations of Padmasambhava’s Jebang Nyernga (25 disciples).
The paintings here are intricately done and stepping into this monastery is like walking into a more peaceful world. Like other Nyingma institutes, Gonjang offers a 9-year course on comparative and close studies of Tibetan and Indian philosophy founded on moral values.
When to reach
Since this monastery is located at a height, one can take in the scenic valley and mountains in the background. A summer visit, on a clear day, will make for an unforgettable trip to Gonjang Monastery. Just like several scenic monasteries in Sikkim, the winter is a game-changer. Something is comforting to watch the mountains clad in white, exploring the inner sanctum of the gompa, stepping out of the piercing wind, is a different experience when you visit during the cold months. Post 9 a.m. and before it turns dark is a good time to visit Gonjang Monastery.
How to reach
The shortest route from the heart of Gangtok to the Gonjang Monastery is less than 8 km. From the local taxi stand, one can board either a shared or private vehicle and enter Sichey onto Lower Burtuk Road, and from there onto NH10 towards the monastery. The distance separating Gonjang and Tashi View Point is just 600 meters, so stopping on the way back from Tashi is a good idea.