24 kms from Gangtok, a drive through beautiful countryside takes one to Rumtek Dharma Chakra Centre built in 1960's by His Holiness the late 16th Gyalwa Karmapa when he took refuge in Sikkim after the Chinese attack. It is an excellent replica of the original Kagyu headquarters in Tibet. It houses some of the world's most unique art objects, ancient manuscripts and icons. About 2 kms away from Dharma Chakra Centre is the recently rebuilt 300 year old Rumtek Monastery which was originally built by the fourth chogyal. His Holiness late Gyalwa Karmapa lived in this monastery till the completion of the Rumtek Dharma Chakra Centre.
How to Reach: By Air and road - The airport at Bagdogra is the nearest one to reach Sikkim . Helicopter service to and from Gangtok and Bagdogra are available daily. From Bagdogra airport, taxis are also available to transfer you to Gangtok.By Rail - New Jalpaiguri is the nearest railhead.
Namgyal Institute of Tibetology/Do-Drui Chorten
While in Gangtok, we visited the 'Do-Drul Chorten' - a huge, white Tibetan pagoda surrounded by prayer flags - and it's Gompa (for young lamas) We also went to the 'Namgyal Institute of Tibetology' - an institute built in traditional Tibetan style, housing the world's largest collection of Buddhist books and manuscrips. We didn't go too crazy visiting temple after temple, because to be honest with you - it seems like, after you have seen one or two, they all start to look the same to me... (the uncultured being that I am)
- Budget Travel
- Religious Travel
Time spent in a Monastery
Rumtek Monastery is situated on a hillside opposite the town of Gangtok. A Buddhist monastery might be the last place that you would expect to find Sourbugger, but you would be wrong.
I spent a few days living here, attending prayers and generally trying to get an understanding of the life of a Buddhist community. It was the longest I have ever been in my adult life without any chance of eating meat, drinking booze or getting some legover.
I took a shared taxi over from the main town, which was crammed with teenage Buddhist monks. They (as far as I could work out from the broken English) were about halfway through their six-month stint at the Monastery. Their families expected them to this as part of their tranformation into manhood, but at the end of the six months they all felt they would return to the obsessions of most teenage men - women, music and beer. As we approached the place, the taxi-driver turned down the volume on his stereo. At the time it was playing a gangsta rap track about someone who apparantly wanted to fill several people who wished to sleep with their mother with lead.
During my stay there, I came across a practical example of Buddhist teachings at work. Two younger monks (about aged 7 or 8) were playing on the short slope approaching Rumtek. They had a pair of roller skates between them. Nothing unusual about this you might think. Now, just about anywhere else one boy would use them for a while, until the other one whinged enough to have ago - or fought his freind for them. Here, they had a different compromise - one roller skate each ! It was certainly equitable, but made the act of roller-skating a damned difficult act !
- Religious Travel
Scale New Heights with The Helicopter
Sikkim Tourism offers some Helicopter rides to view the mountains and to see an aerial view of Gantok City.. It also offers a ride to the Kanchanjunga mountain and back ... If you are a mountain lover and dont have the time to trek up till Kanchanjunga, then this is the best alternative you can get... It would be ideal to take this ride on a a clear day and have the memories that will last forever.
- Adventure Travel
The Must do thing in Gangtok is visiting the Nathula Border.. This was intially known as the Old Silk Route of Indo China... It is different feeling altogether as it is completely snow capped.There is a small Indian post office on one side and a chinese border post diagonally opposite.. The border is nothing but a barbed wire ... En route to this place is also a Lake called Tsomgo Lake which is quite breathtaking... U can take a Yak ride at this lake if u please....
- Family Travel
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