Tag: Sikkim

The holy caves of Sikkim– feel the spiritual heart of the former himalayan kingdom of Sikkim in India vividly

The holy caves of Sikkim

Sikkim is the former buddhist kingdom in the Himalayas- it shows us the secrets of the Buddhist culture, opens our hearts and gives us a new perspective & inspiration. We believe that a visit to Sikkim’s mystical places of power can help us reconnect with our heart.

Sikkim is a paradise

Sikkim is a paradise for people who are attracted to magnificent mountain ranges, different cultures and natural ways of living.

Here people searching for spiritual guidance can obtain inspiration – there are not many places where one can find so many holy mountains, lakes, rivers, caves, temples & monasteries – along with the magnificent landscapes.

On our journey to the Sikkim’s holy caves, we will enjoy the breathtaking views looking up to Sikkim’s diety of protection, the third hightst mountain on earth which stands: Mount Khangchendzonga.

To understand the value of these holy natural places, we will introduce you to the man who blessed this location with his presence.

The true look of Buddha looks far beyond the holy land.
The true look of Buddha looks far beyond the holy land.

Guru Padmasambhava

Guru Padmasambhava (in English: born to the sacred lotus), also called Guru Rinpoche, is remembered as being the founder of Buddhism in Tibet. In Sikkim and Tibet, Guru Padmasambhava is honored with the title “second Buddha” an incarnation to the historical Buddha Shakyamuni.

During the 8. century Guru Padmasambhava at the request of the tibetan king Thrisong Detsen (756-796) spread Buddhism in Tibet. During his journeys to and from Tibet, he visited Sikkim several times where he meditated in many places and also predicted that in a few centuries, Buddhism would establish itself in this area. On his journey, he hid many of his spiritual treasures encoded in secret places, such as the caves of Sikkim, which have ever since been considered holy.

Buddhist holy sites are usually special because of the people who mediated in these places. They believe that holy people’s presence and meditation have left these places blessed and with healing powers.

Experience the holy land
Experience the holy land.

Enough of the history and let’s get back to our journey: It is an empowering and inspiring adventure to visit the five holy caves in Sikkim with Terralaya Travels. We trust in the “healing and cleansing power” that the visit of these caves may have and we leave our western skepticism at home.

These caves are located in all four directions from Tashiding, the spiritual heart of Sikkim.

On this journey we focus on our inner self – the environment and «energy» of this land may help us let go of stress and the hustle of modern life. We look forward to feeling in harmony with ourselves and nature – and will surely experience unforgettable moments in this amazing land with ist special people.

  • We will visit:
    Sharchhogbayphung – the secret cave
    Khando Sangphuk– The cave of fairies
    Dechenphu oder Dechenthang– The cave of luck and happiness
    Lharinyingphug – the old cave of the god of hills. The holiest of all the caves are truly hard to reach. A good endurance but as well a strong will is required, to walk up the steep path that gets us to the cave Lharinyingphug
    Tsechephug– The central cave of Tashiding

The reason why natives undertake the strenuous pilgrimage treks is due to the cleansing and healing benefits that are said to derive from a visit.

In this cave Teron Rinchen Lingpa found the hidden treasures of Guru Padmasambhava and decoded them for the rest of the world: Many of the visitors believe that a visit to these caves can help fulfill their wishes for a long life, wealth and prosperity and that they will be blessed with many children.

The Holy Capes in Sikkim
The Holy Capes in Sikkim

Are you curious yet? On this mystical trip, there is so much more to discover. You will find more information under www.sikkim.ch

The Bamboo Retreat Hotel and Terralaya Travels lead you to unforgettable places and let you experience stories right there. We always keeping in mind our goal to offer a bridge between cultures – as well as offering doors to open hearts.

The optimal time for this journey in Sikkim is November and December, when the nights get colder and the rainy period is over and the morning fog disappears. Then you can best admire the view over the majestic mountain ranges of the Himalaya.

Another great time is during September, October, March, April or May. The trip can be booked individually from one person onwards.

The journey can be adjusted to your wishes and personal needs. For example, if you are not physically fit, we can offer this journey without the caves that require trekking to reach them and with other points of interest to your liking instead.

For further information, contact us. We are looking forward to meeting you.

View of the Himalaya Mountains
View of the Himalaya Mountains
The Old Silk Route, East Sikkim

6 Day Itinerary for Exploring Sikkim

Exploring Sikkim

Sikkim has a lots of wonderful moments, experiences and views to offer. You can spend endless amount of days in Sikkim, meditating, reading, and working because it offers a serene environment to focus and feel relaxed at the same time. But, if you are on a short trip to Sikkim and want to make the most out of your vacation, here is the perfect plan for you. This itinerary covers most of the tourist attractions in Sikkim. It is upto you to decide which ones you want to visit and which ones you want to skip for later.    

Beginning your trip: Gangtok is the best place to start your trip. Bagdogra airport, the closest airport is around 130 kms away. If you coming by rail, New Jalpaiguri is the closest railway station which is almost the same distance away. You can take a taxi to Gangtok, which will take about 4.5 hours coming through Siliguri, Kalimpong and Rangpo. The ride in itself provides for some great views and is something you can look forward to. When it comes to stay, you can choose a central location in Gangtok, Lachung, Ravangla and Pelling so you can make the most of time.   

Day 1: Stay in Gangtok, East Sikkim

Enchey Monastery – Start your trip by visiting the Enchey monastery. It is a popular pilgrimage place with beautiful architecture and will offer you your first views of the Mt. Kanchenjunga.

Hanuman Tok and Ganesh Tok – Located 3 kms north of Gangtok, it offers a great view of Mt. Kanchenjunga and is a place that would surprise you with its charm and serenity.

Namgyal Institute of Tibetology – One of the only institutes worldwide that does research on Tibetan language and culture. It will offer you a great insight into Tibetan and Sikkimese culture.

Gangtok Ropeway – Get on the cable car at Deorali and go upto Tashiling and back. You get a real good view of Gangtok town and also get a great view of the mountains peaks around.

MG Marg – You can walk around the main shopping centre in Gangtok, buy souvenirs and local handicrafts; have a meal or even simply hang around taking in the downtown vibe.

Day 2: Stay in Gangtok, East Sikkim

Himalayan Zoological Park – If you are interested to lose yourself in the flora and fauna for a few hours, then this is the place for you. Watch out for the red panda and the snow leopard.

Rumtek Monastery – The most popular monastery in Sikkim; you can view several unique Buddhist objects not found anywhere in the world. Best place to soak in some Sikkimese history.

Jawaharlal Nehru Botanical Garden – Situated close to Rumtek Monastery, this is the best place to get a close look at the different flowers and plants species unique to Sikkim.

Rey, Lingdum, Ranka Monastery – If you want to go a mini-tour of monasteries. You can go a tour of these three stunning monasteries on your way to Gangtok.

Paragliding – Want to catch a better view of the Himalayas? Then try out paragliding to experience the thrill of the skies and also to create an unforgettable memory of Sikkim.

Day 3: Stay in Gangtok, East Sikkim

Nathula Pass – Famous for being the silk route in the olden days between India and Tibet, today it is the Indo-China border. For the stunning views, visit between May-December.  

Tsomgo Lake – On the way to Nathula, you get to stop at the legendary Tsomgo lake, which is believed to change colors in different seasons.  

Lake Menmecho – Often overlooked, the Lake Menmecho is located at 12,500 ft above sea level. Here you can witness the nature in its purest form, untouched by humans.  

Baba Mandir – Built in memory of a sentry in the Indian Army called Harbhajan Singh, this temple has a long history to it. Knowing the story that will definitely leave you awestruck.

Zuluk – The whole journey to Nathula Pass is an unforgettable experience. If you are feeling you can take more, the visit Zuluk for a day and take in the stunning flora and fauna there.

Day 4: Stay in Lachung, North Sikkim

Yumthang Valley – Known as the valley of flowers, you can visit the Shingba Rhododendron sanctuary for some floral delights found only in Sikkim. The best months to visit are April-May.

Zero Point – Covered in snow for most of the year, this is a place for the adventurous. Overcoming the low oxygen and freezing cold, this is thrilling experience with amazing views.  

Chopta Valley – One of the most picturesque spots in Sikkim; Chopta valley is a paradise for nature lovers to see rare flowers and birds. Also a great place for trekking and water sports.

Gurudongmar Lake – Located at the height of 17,800 ft, it is one of the highest lakes in India and the world. Considered holy by Hindus and Buddhists, ‘picturesque’ is an understatement.  

Lachung Monastery – On the way to Lachung, you will get to encounter a number of beautiful waterfalls. Don’t miss the Lachung monastery and marvel at its amazing architecture.

Lama monk boy north sikkim

Day 5: Stay in Ravangla, South Sikkim

Buddha Park – A must-visit for its scenic views and imposing Buddha statue, the park is a place to spend some quality time walking around in complete peace.

Ralang Monastery – Visit the imposing Ralang monastery, one of the most sacred monasteries in Sikkim to see some of the finest Buddhist art in the form of paintings and scrolls.   

Temi Tea Garden – Considered one of the best tea plantations in the world, it is the only one in Sikkim. But, you will mesmerized by the aroma and the sight of the endless carpet of tea plants.  

Char Dham – Built on top of the Solophok hill, this pilgrim centre is a replica of the four sacred dhams revered by Hindus. The giant Shiva statue is visible from everywhere on the complex.

Samdruptse Hill – Believed to  be a dormant volcano by the locals, this popular tourist spot is home to a 45 m tall statue of Guru Padmasambhava, the patron saint of Sikkim.

Prayer wheels Tashiding Sikkim West

Day 6: Pelling, West Sikkim

Dubdi, Pemayangtse, Sangachoeling, Tashiding Monastery – Visits these sacred spots to learn more about the Buddhist history of Sikkim and to understand Buddhist culture.

Khecheopalri Lake – Considered a sacred lake by Buddhists, this is popular tourist spot among locals and tourists alike. It is also considered a ‘wish-fulfilling’ lake, adding to its novelty.  

Rabdentse Ruins – This was the ancient capital of Sikkim, where the Chogyal or King used to reside. Today you can go for a short trek to see the ruins of the historical palace.

Singshore Bridge – You get to see the highest bridge in Sikkim that was built to connect two hills. It’s not only an architectural wonder to look at, it’s surrounded by scenic views on all sides.

Kanchenjunga Falls – After seeing a number of waterfalls along your journey in different parts of Sikkim, you can top it all with a visit to the breathtaking Kanchenjunga falls.

If you have a few extra days, you can visit Kalimpong and Darjeeling on your way to your next destination. And you can come back to Sikkim again and again to discover new places and friends. Most importantly to find calm and peace in the lap of nature.   

Pelling Pemayangtse Monastery, Sikkim

8 Must Visit Monasteries in Sikkim

8 Must Visit Monasteries in Sikkim

Sikkim is a land blessed with breathtaking biodiversity. Also, it is a land dotted with spectacular monasteries. One would be surprised to know that though most of the residents of Sikkim are Hindus, it has a rich Buddhist heritage. Each major monastery in Sikkim has a lot of history attached to it and is also a major pilgrimage spot for Buddhists from around the world. A trip to Sikkim is not complete without visiting the major monasteries, taking in their history and enjoying their architectural beauty.    

1. Rumtek Monastery

Rumtek Monastery

Built in the 18th century, Rumtek monastery also known as the Dharma Chakra centre is the largest and most popular monastery in Sikkim. It is home to some of the most unique Buddhist artwork in the world, from wall murals to ancient scriptures to hand painted scrolls. It was first built by the 12th Karmapa Changchub Dorje. But after it fell to ruins, the 16th Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorje rebuilt it in the year 1959. It is home to the Kagyu school of Buddhism and the monastery is supposed to be an exact replica of the Kagyu headquarters in Tibet.

2. Dubdi Monastery

Dubdi Monastery, Yoksum Dubdi Temple

The oldest monastery in Sikkim, Dubdi monastery was built in the year 1701. It is nearly 40 kms away from Pelling. It is also known as the Yuksom monastery and was built by the first king of Sikkim. Dubdi monastery has iconography pointing to the formation of the state of Sikkim, when the first Chogyal of Sikkim was crowned by the three Lamas. It is home to a lot of rare manuscripts and texts. One can truly feel the weight of history as they walk through the aisles of one of the most historical sites in Sikkim.   

3. Pemayangtse Monastery

Pelling Pemayangtse Monastery, Sikkim

One of the oldest and most popular religious sites in Sikkim, the Pemayangtse monastery was built by Gyalwa Lhatsun Chempo in the year 1705. He was one of the three Lamas who crowned the first king of Sikkim, Chogyal Phuntsog Namgyal in the year 1642. This place has many unique buddhist idols, statues and paintings. Pemayangtse translates to ‘Perfect Sublime Lotus’. This monastery is especially popular as it is extremely easy to reach from Pelling and also offers a great view of Mt. Kanchenjunga.      

4. Tashiding Monastery

Tashiding Monastery

Considered the holiest place in all of Sikkim, Tashiding monastery is located 40 kms from Pelling. It is surrounded by major monasteries and holy places on all sides. Also, it is located between 4 sacred caves in each direction which increases its importance.  It was built in the 17th century and the Bhimchu festival celebrated on the 14th and 15th day of the 1st month of the Tibetan calendar draws people from across the world.   

4. Enchey Monastery

Gangtok Enchey Monastery with Monchs

Most popular for the Chaam dance that happens on 18th and 19th day of the 12th month in the Tibetan calendar, Enchey monastery literally means the ‘Solitary Temple’. Apart from the amazing view of Kanchenjunga that one can see from this monastery, it is also home to numerous images of Gods and Goddesses. Enchey monastery is an integral part of the people’s lives in Gangtok. It houses the Guru Padmasambhava and Loketeswara deities in addition to the Buddha statue.  

6. Ralang Monastery

Ralang Monastery, Sikkim

Located around 55 kms from Pelling, Ralang monastery is one of the most breathtaking monuments you will visit in Sikkim. The annual festival celebrated here is called Pang Lhabsol, where Mt. Kanchenjunga is worshiped. Here one can see a huge number of paintings called Thangkas, which is a Tibetan art form that depicts Buddhist religious iconography. This monastery was built in memory of the successful pilgrimage to Tibet undertaken by the fourth Chogyal (ruler of Sikkim).    

7. Rinchenpong Monastery

Rinchenpong Monastery with Monchs, Sikkim

Established in the year 1730, Rinchenpong monastery is famous for the Ati Buddha statue. It is a short trek from the Rinchenpong market. Also, the monastery offers a clear view of Mt. Kanchenjunga and Mt. Narsing. Also, for those interested in history, this place is very close to the famous Poison lake. This is where the British invaders reached before being forced to retreat.   

8. Sanga Choeling Monastery

Sanga Choeling Monastery, Sikkim

Built in 17th century by Gyalwa Lhatsun Chempo, the Sanga Choeling monastery is located 9 kms away from Pelling. It is the 3rd oldest monastery in Sikkim. The monastery belongs to the ancient Nyingmaga sect, which is the oldest school of Tibetan Buddhism. It is a good 30-45 minute hike to reach the monastery. But you will not only enjoy the monastery visit but also be mesmerized by the panoramic view from the top.   

A visit to the monasteries above can be made from or be organized by the Bamboo Retreat. We would be more than happy to host you during your stay in Sikkim.

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Bamboo Retreat Hotel & Permaculture Garden Estate
Sajong, Rumtek Block
P.O. Box 20, Head Post Office,
737101 Gangtok, Sikkim, Indien