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| Last Updated:: 04/09/2023

Pemayangtse Monastery








The Pemayangtse Monastery is a Buddhist monastery in Pemayangtse, near Pelling in the northeastern Indian state of Sikkim, located 140 kilometres (87 mi) west of Gangtok. Planned, designed and founded by Lama Lhatsun Chempo in 1705, it is one of the oldest and premier monasteries of Sikkim, and the headquarters of the Nyingmapa order of the Tibetan Buddhism. 




The monastery draws its name from 'padma yang tse' which literally translates into the 'sublime perfect lotus'. 




Pemayangtse Monastery was meant only for ta-sang' lamas or pure monks. The pure monks were defined by Lhatsun Chempo as one who were of pure Tibetan race, celibate and without any physical handicap. With time, the significance of the Pemayangtse Monastery enhanced multifold and it eventually became the one whose monks were entitled to anoint the reigning sovereign of the land with holy water. 




Till now the monks of this monastery are the only one who can claim the title of "ta-sang". The monastery derives its religious sustenance from the Mindoling Monastery which is situated in the central Tibet. 




Built as a three storied structure, the monastery depicts paintings on its walls and statues of saints and Rinpoches, deified in various floors. 




In the main prayer hall (1,500 square feet (140 m2) area), the Dukhang or Lakhang, the main temple, has colourfully painted doors and windows which  depict Tibetan designs. The main statue of Padmasambahva (also known as Guru Rinpoche who revived Buddhism in Tibet and was also the propagator of Vajrayana or tantric form of Buddhism is seen here in his wrathful form as Dorje Bhurpa Vjarakila with multiple heads and arms. 




There is a seven-tiered painted wooden structure, portraying Guru Rimpoche's Heavenly Palace known as "Sanghthokpalri" also spelt "Zandog-palri" on the top floor of the monastery. 




The Cham dance festival is held every year on the 28th and 29th day of the 12th lunar month of the Tibetan calendar, corresponding to February of the Gregorian calendar. It is performed by the lamas of this monastery. The lamas dress up as Mahākāla and Guru Drag-dmar (Sanskrit Vajrakila) in colourful costumes for the dance performance. Pilgrims from all parts of Sikkim visit the monastery to witness this festival.  The dance concludes on the third day with the unfurling of the Ghyo-Ku' and a huge embroidered Buddhist scroll.