Sikkim Tourist Attractions
Gangtok is the capital of Sikkim. Its name means the 'High Hill'. Situated at a height of over five thousand feet above sea level, the city looks to be tucked away in a cloud sprawling over a hill. Kanchanjunga, renders a spectacular view from Gangtok, with its magnificent snow and ice scenery.
Tusklakhang Royal Chapel is situated on a level ground in the palace complex. On all corners of the chapel are located the formidable heads of snow lions - wood sculpture in relief. Inside the chapel is depicted the magnificent wood work, highlighted by the massive Buddhist murals that adorn the walls. An eternal butter lamp, lights the floor to ceiling altar, housing the deities and the scriptures. Tsuklakhang is the venue of all important festivals and festivities.
The Research Institute Or Namgyal Institute Of Tibetology
Situated on the top of a hill, this Institute promotes research on Tibet and Mahayana Buddhism. The Namgyal Institute of Tibetology has been known as the highest seat of learning among the Mahayana scholars. It contains a greatest collection of books on Mahayana Buddhism. The museum of the institute contains another asset of Mahayana. More than two hundred icons, prized objects of traditional art, ritualistic chortens, brass bells, Dorj-is (thunder bolts ), Rosaries, thangkas (hand painted scrolls woven or appliqué ) are the main collections of the museum, which have won international acclaim for the Institute.
Government Cottage Industries Institute
The multi craft institute originally named after the last Chogyal Palden Thondup, is an academy of craftsmanship. The locally made handicraft products are sold at the institute.
The Gate ways for Gangtok city have been designed in a very attractive and artistic manner. There is a strange enchantment and charm about these gates. The gate that spans the entrance to Tashiling the secretariat has a beauty of its own. The Sikkimese art and the minute skill depicted by the Sikkimese artists are visible on these structures.
On the southern fringes of Tashiling, overhauling a valley that drops a sheer thousand metres below, is located the Gangtok's Deer Park. There is an image of Lord Buddha enshrined in the Deer Park in his preaching posture. The park is a sanctuary for deer, brought from Sikkim and other neighbouring lands and symbolises the quest for peace and harmony between neighbours.
Orchid Sanctuary is situated below the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology. A large variety of orchids ranging from the commonest variety to rarest ones are found in the sanctuary. Sikkim is renowned for rich and numerous varieties of orchids.
At a distance of about 21 km from Gangtok is located a historic Kabi or Khabelongstok, the venue where blood brother hood was sworn between Khye-Bumsa, the renowned ancestor of Namgyals, the former ruling house of Sikkim and Thekong Tek the then and last Lepcha chieftain amid sacrifices and the looming form of the revered and sacred Kanchanjunga. A memorial stone adorns the place as a testimony to the historic and sacred agreement. Prayer flags stand guard on the hill above and people from all corners of the state come with offerings of flowers to pray at the sacred spot.
Sikkim's monasteries are the institutes of scholars and saints dedicated to the spreading of noble teachings of Lord Buddha. The monasteries of Sikkim apart from being the places of religious discourses, worship and meditation are the store houses of much hand written religious books and murals, the part and parcel of Sikkimese cultural heritage.
This is the oldest monastery of Sikkim. It was built over the cell of the hermit where lama Lhatsun Chenpo lived and meditated. Under his direction the Sangla Choling monastery was also built at the same time. He also built the Tashiding and Pemyangtse monasteries.
Tashiding Monastery in Sikkim is second in importance to the premier and largest monastery of Pemyangtse. The legend goes that Guru Padmasambhava (Rimpoche) shot an arrow into the air and said that he would meditate at a place where the arrow fell. The arrow fell on the hill where Tashiding stands today. Tashidings fame has spread far beyond the frontiers of Sikkim. Till 1959 it was an important place of pilgrimage for Tibetans. The Buddhists from other parts of India, Nepal and Bhutan consider it as Mecca. Every pious Sikkimese wishes to die and to be cremated at Tashiding.
Monastery At Pemayangtse (Perfect Sublime Lotus)
This monastery is situated 120 Kms west of Pemayangtse. This is the second oldest monastery of Sikkim. The monastery was constructed in 1705A.D. The original building was designed on the Tibetan monastery pattern. But now the main building has completely been rebuilt in concrete and also painted in Sikkimese style. There is an exceptional collection of religious art works including an exquisite wooden sculpture on the top floor depicting the heavenly palace of Guru Rimpoche. The monks' quarters build in stone and wood is sited at the side of the monastery. This is the headquarters of the Nyingmapa sector. The monks have been recruited here from the leading families of Sikkim according to Nyingmapa tradition.
This monastery stands, 24 km away in a picturesque environs on the lower valleys of south west Gangtok. It is the headquarters of Kagyu (black hat) order of Tibetan Lamaistic Buddhism. It has the typical monastic paintings and intricate wood work.
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