Enchey Monastery, sometimes known as “the solitary temple,” is a revered Buddhist pilgrimage site. Surrounded by gorgeous natural beauty and located in the mysterious dreamland of Gangtok, this site is spectacular. The presence of majestic pine trees, lovely flowers, and the breathtaking view of the Kanchenjunga range provide the devotees a sense of a peaceful and happy setting.
The monastery located 3 kilometres to the northeast of Gangtok, constructed in 1909 is architectural marvel. The area received a tremendous blessing from Lama Drupthob Karpo, a well-known practitioner of tantric art and an authority on Buddhism. Thought to have flown from Maenam Hill in South Sikkim to this location and built the first tiny Gompa there. During the reign of Sidkeong Tulku Namgyal, the current building constructed in the style of a Chinese Pagoda, portrays the chinese architecture. This monastery’s sanctity attested to the notion that Khangchendzonga and Yabdean, the guardian deities, reside there.
Holy Place in Sikkim
This holy monument currently houses 90 monks of the Nyingma order of Vajrayana Buddhism and pays homage to Loki Sharia, Lord Buddha, and Guru Padmasambhava. The massive metal-roofed prayer hall inside Enchey Monastery is adorned with numerous images of Gods, Goddesses, and religious items. A wheel of law spins in time with the monks’ chants on the porch.
The Chaam dance, an unique prayer offering by monks dressed in masks held at the Enchey Monastery on the 18th and 19th days of the 12th lunar month according to the Tibetan calendar, is another reason why the monastery is a popular tourist attraction, in addition to its beautiful setting. Another festival celebrated at the monastery is Pang Lhabsol, which brings Bhutias and Lepchas together by having them promise to be blood brothers in front of the Khangchendzonga. If you want to learn about the monks’ culture or history in a weird and serene setting away from the hustle and bustle of the city, this is the place to go.
Architecture of Enchey Monastery
The ninth Chogyal constructed the Enchey Monastery in 1840, developing Gangtok into a pilgrimage centre. Under the direction of Sikyong Tulku, the monastery was erected in the style of a Chinese pagoda in 1909. The foundation erected on the same spot as Lama Druptub Karbo’s hermitage. On top of the famed monastery is a glittering golden dome that holds several deities’ pictures, holy artefacts, and Goddesses.
The main deities worshipped in Enchey Monastery include Loki Sharia, Lord Buddha, and Guru Padmasambhava. The walls of the enormous prayer hall fully covered with paintings and murals shows the four religious rulers, the four cardinal directions’ deities, and a galaxy of Mahayana Buddhist deities. The manuscripts of the scriptures are maintained in an almirah. Four finely carved pillars support the majestic monastery.
The intricately carved and decorated windows are a treat to architectural enthusiasts. Every year, a vast collection of masks utilised for the many ceremonial dances conducted here are amazing. It also offers a tranquil ambience, as its name suggests, and a pretty fine library that is worth visiting. There are also colourful prayer flags floating throughout the monastery, creating an overall tranquil atmosphere.
Festivals at Enchey Monastery
The Enchey Monastery hosts several festivals, including the Detor Cham, a colourful and vibrant Cham dance festival held on the 18th and 19th days of the Tibetan calendar’s 12th lunar month. The Singhe Chaam another event conducted in the monastery once every three years. Another festival in which blood-brotherhood swearing occurs between the Lepchas and Bhutias in the presence of Khangchendzonga is Pang Lhabsol.
Cham dancers do dances that are modelled the Tibetan god figurines of the Mahakala, the protector, and legendary snow lions, both of which have a third eye on their foreheads to symbolise the need for introspection. The dancers wear elaborate costumes. Losar, the Tibetan New Year, and Losoong are preceded by the dancing festivals. Also Similar Festival is celebrated at Rumtek Monastery too.
Best Time to visit: September to May
Best Visit Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 17:00 p.m.
Monasteries are usually open where resident monks live. However, for visitors, it is best to visit before 9 a.m. and before it gets dark. Entry is free for all visitors.
Things to consider while visiting:
- Refrain from making loud noises and refrain from using mobile phones to preserve the calm and peace of a monastery.
- In the monastery, avoid touching any of the artefacts or sacred items.
- Always make a circular circuit of the monastery.
- Prior to shooting any pictures, get
How to reach the Monastery
The monastery is easily accessible by car because it is located on the Nathula-Gangtok road. You can also take a taxi from Gangtok to Enchey Monastery and walk the 15 minutes there.You can ask for directions from locals if you stop along the way or use google maps.