24-km drive from Gangtok, through the
beautiful, bewitching countryside leads one to Rumtek. Rumtek, is the seat
of the Karmapa Lama who heads the Kagyupa Sect of Buddhism. Tankhas (also
spelt as Thangkas) and frescoes decorate the walls of this ancient
monastery, now renovated. His holiness Gyalwa Karmapa was the 16th
reincarnate. The style of the monastery, strictly traditional has been
patterned on the lines of the Lamas series of Tibet.
About The Monastery
The first monastery was built in 1717 but crumbled to ruins due to aging. The present monastery was constructed by his holiness the Gyalwa Karmapa in 1960s.
The monastery is certainly the largest in Sikkim sprawling over a huge area. It includes a school built on modern lines to impart teachings in Tibetan and various aspects of Buddhism. An aviary containing the most exotic birds also exists in the monastery complex. Some distance above the monastery is a hermitage in which monks go into complete seclusion for meditation for period's upto 3 years.
The main offerings / dances of Rumtek also called the "Tse-Chu Chaams" are held on the 10th day of the 5th month of the Tibetan calendar around June. The 'Kagyat' dances are held on the 28th and 29th day of the tenth month of the Tibetan calendar.
Nehru Botanical Garden
At walking distance from Rumtek monastery this garden contains exotic variety of flora and is a good picnic spot. A panoramic view of Gangtok from here is awe-inspiring. There is a regular bus service to Rumtek; taxis and sightseeing tours are also available from tourist office, Gangtok.
Road: The one-day city tours run by the tourist office in Gangtok include an hour in Rumtek, which is not nearly long enough. There's also one SNT bus from Gangtok each day, which leaves in the evening and returns the next morning. Shared jeeps also leave Gangtok from Lall Bazaar everyday.
There are a few hotels to choose from in Rumtek. The
monastery's own Hotel Kunga Delek opposite the entrance to the courtyard,
has small clean rooms with attached bathroom, there are good views and
basic food is available. There is also a guesthouse situated outside the