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Tashiding Monastery 

Tashiding means “The Devoted Central Glory” and the monastery by this name was founded in 1641 by Ngadak Sempa Chempo Phunshok Rigzing who belonged to the Nyingma sect of Tibetan Buddhism. This tiny village is home to Tashiding Gompa monastery, founded in 1641 Ngadak Sempa Chempo, one of the three lamas who performed the consecration ceremony of the first Chogyal or the king of Sikkim. Legend has it that Tashiding hill in west Sikkim is the navel point of the holy places in Sikkim from a religious point of view. A Buddhist Tantrayana Master called ‘Guru Padmasambhava’ had made his miraculous visit to this hill in 8th century A.D, along with his retinue of followers and recognized it as a heart of the holy places in Sikkim.But the damages by frequent earthquakes resulted several wall cracks, following which Lamas had to rebuild it in 1995 with the financial help from the Sikkim State Government. Presently, the monastery has 60-70 monks. Like Pemayangtse, it is a parent monastery of the monasteries following Jhang-Ter lineage of Nyingmapa Sect in Sikkim. The most important festival of this Gonpa is ‘Bhumchhu’, a sacred holy water ceremony, which is held annually and attracts a large number of pilgrims and devotees from Bhutan and other adjoining areas. 

This monastery was constructed on top of a heart shaped hill with the back drop of the sacred Mount Khang – Chen - Dzonga. According to Buddhist scriptures, Guru Padmasambhava blessed the sacred land of Sikkim in the 8th century AD from this spot. The monastery, however, was built in the 18 Century A D by Ngadak Sempa Chempo, one of the three lamas who had performed the consecration ceremony of the first Chogyal.

Tashiding is also famous for the most holy Chorten known as 'Thong – Warang - Dol' which literally means 'Saviors by mere sight'. It is believed that the mere act of beholding it is supposed to wash away the sins of the devotees. Another important feature is the sacred water festival unique to this monastery only. The main monastery is perched majestically atop a heart shaped hill, accessed by walking steep uphill. The monastery is said to have been constructed on the site blessed and mediated by Guru Padmasambha in 8th century. The mural work inside are very spellbinding. Behind the monastery, there are dozens of chortens (stupa), including the Thong-Wa-rang-Dol literally meaning wash away the sins by mere sight. The Bumchu festival, one of the most important traditional Sikkimese festival is held here is held here in on 14th and 15th day of the first lunar month (usually in February or early March).Lamas open a sacred pot of water and make the predictions about the coming year. Many devotees come get the blessing of the holy water.

Tsuklakhang Palace is another important monastery belonging to the Nyingmapa order and is about 40 Kilometers. from Gyalshing by road via Legship (West Sikkim). It lies nestled on the top of a hill that looms up between the Rathong river and the Rangit river and is surrounded by a profusion of Prayer flags that flutter in the air. There are also many chortans dedicated to some Chogyals and some religious personalities of Sikkim. Carved skillfully on stone plates surrounding th emonastery are holly Buddhist mantras like "Om Mane Padme Hum" by the master crafts man Yanchong Lodil.

The monastery was built in 1717 by Ngadak Sempa Chembo during the reign of the third Chogyal Chakdor Namgyal. The sacred ceremony of Bumchu is held here at midnight of the 14th & 15th of the first Tibetan month. There is a bus service from Gyalshing to Tashiding. Atrekkers hut is available for the tourist at Tashiding.ng.

Bhumchu festival is celebrated each year. It is about a divine vase filled with holy water kept in the monastery, which is opened for public display and worship every year on the night before the Full Moon day in the first month of Tibetan calendar. Bhumchu (Bhum=pot; Chu=water) is a Buddhist festival celebrated to predict the future. The alteration in the quantity and quality of the water stored in the vase over a year would indicate the fortune of Sikkim and its people in the following year. Once inspected and the Bhumchu festival is concluded, the lamas fill the vase with fresh water from the river and seal it for the opening for the next year.

Pilgrims come to the monastery to be blessed with the holy water. The festival is of particular importance to the Bhutias (ethnic Tibeteans) of Sikkim. The festival is on the 15th day Full Moon day of the first Tibetan month or Hindu month of Magh corresponding to February / March according to Gregorian calendar.

Communication 

It is nearly 42 Kilometers from Pelling. One can reach Bagdogra airport (IXB) nearly 180 kilometersin West Bengal which is well connected with flights from flights from Kolkata, Patna, Delhi, Guwahati, Mumbai, Paro, Bangkok and Bangalore. The nearest railway link is at New Jalpaiguri Railway Station (NJP) some 180 kilometers by drive i.e. 6 - 7 hours. It is better to reach by road after reaching Siliguri / Bagdogra airport (IXB) / New Jalpaiguri Railway Station (NJP).Private vehicles are available if booked early as there is shortage of registered Taxi.

Tags: Tashiding Monastery, Monastery at Yuksom, Yuksom Sightseeing, Buddhist Circuit,