The Elevated Central Glory
Standing in its majestic isolation on the top of a conical hill, with printings equalling those of the Paimionchi, the monastery is in the very heart of Sikkim. Tashiding is the holiest of holy hills in Sikkim, belongs to Nyingma-pa sect. Tashiding - an important place of pilgrimage, in Buddhist world, according to ancient beliefs, pilgrims are cleansed of all their sins if they only contemplate the great sacred Chorten of Tashiding.
It nestles on the top of a hill that looms up between Rathong and Ranjeet (also spelt as Ranjit) Rivers; is surrounded by a profusion of prayer flags that flutter in the air. There are so many Chortens dedicated to Chogyals and some of the religious personalities of Sikkim. Carved skillfully on stone plates surrounding the monastery is 'Om Mane Padme Hum' by the master craftsman - Yanchong Lodil.
The monastery was built in 1717 by Ngadak Sempa Chempo during the reign of the third Chogyal Chakdor Namgyal. The sacred ceremony of Bumchu is performed here at midnight of the 14th and 15th of the first Tibetan month.
Phodong monastery, Labrang monastery and Tumlong Palace
ruins, all these three are located within an area of 1-sq-kms, about 40-km
from Gangtok on the North Sikkim highway.
Phodong monastery, which belongs to the Karugpa Sect, is about a kilometre uphill by a jeepable road that bifurcates from the North Sikkim highway. It was built by the Chogyal Gyurmed Namgyal in the first quarter of the 18th century. The main annual puja is performed on the 28th and 29th day of the tenth month of the tibetan calendar when the religious chaams or dances are also performed.
Another kilometre uphill from Phodong monastery on the same jeepable road is the Labrang monastery, which was built one hundred years later, but belongs to the Nyingma-Pa Sect.
Ruins Of Tumlong Palace
Just below the road between Phodong monastery and Labrang monastery are the ruins of the third capital of Sikkim, Tumlong. In the beginning of the nineteenth century, the capital of Sikkim was shifted from Rabdanste to Tumlong, which remained the capital of Sikkim for almost ninety years.
The palace is now in ruins covered with a thick canopy of bushes, but one can conjure up an image of what it looked like from Dr. hooker's account during his visit and imprisonment here in 1849. The Chortens surrounding the palace have however withstood the vagaries of nature and many of them can still be seen.
He wrote in the Himalayan journal:
"It was an irregular low stone building of Tibetan architecture, with slanting walls and small windows high up under the broad thatched roof, above which, in the middle, was a Chinese looking square copper gilt canopy, with projecting eaves and bells at the comers, surmounted by a ball and a square spire. On either gable of the roof was round topped cylinder of gilded copper, something like a closed umbrella".
Road: There is a bus service from Gyalsing to Tashiding. The monastery can be reached from either by a day's trek from Pemayangtse or 40-km drive from Gyalsing. Many buses regularly ply on this route and taxis are also readily available.
A trekkers hut is available for the tourist at Tashiding.
There are certain spacious guesthouses also available for accommodation at