A visit to Samdrupste Hill is assured if you’re touring Namchi. It is on top of the hill that the world’s tallest statue of Guru Padmasambhava is perched. Mounting at a height of 148 feet and surrounded by emerald forests, you will be able to spot this magnificent gilded statue of Sikkim’s guardian saint from miles away.
As you walk uphill towards the statue sitting on a lotus-shaped pedestal, your eyes will meet the piercing gaze of Padmasambhava which makes him resemble a wrathful deity. The wide-open eyes represent a form of meditation practiced by him, a symbol of the highest form of awareness. A spectacular amalgamation of art and engineering, the giant idol, commissioned by the government of Sikkim, took seven long years to build. The foundation stone was laid down by the Dalai Lama himself. The base of the statue has an archive with a vintage collection of photographs of Sikkim. It also has a small prayer room.
Many locals believe that the Samdrupste Hill is an inoperative volcano and it can only be kept from exploding through extensive prayers. Buddhist monks from neighboring monasteries as well as locals often visit the hill to offer prayers. Samdrupste is also known as the ‘wish-fulfilling’ hill.
Take a cable car ride from the car park to the nearby rock garden for some glorious views of Namchi and its surrounding hills. You can also see Char Dham, another popular tourist spot with a giant Shiva statue from here. If you’re the adventurous kind, there is a scenic trekking route from here to Maenam Hill and Tedong Hill.
When to reach
The complex is open to visitors every day between 9 am to 5 pm. Anytime between March to June and September to November is a good time to visit this area of Sikkim.