East Sikkim- Rumtek– having covered two directions, the capital (except the Toks) and South Sikkim quite extensively, I now trained my directions to the Himalayan nestled East.
Actually much of North, South and the Eastern regions of Sikkim are landlocked by the mighty Himalayan ranges. East has major army presence bordering China, and much of it is covered in snow.
The drive though hilly was picturesque, passing valleys, a tributary snaking through, and then briefly changes to flat meadows, drive up again to sharp slopes. With change of weather, the afternoon sun beat down quite mildly, I simply loved the cool mountain air.
When in East Sikkim you can’t miss Rumtek village and the world famous Monastery here Dharmachakra Centre or popularly known as Rumtek Monastery.
Built in 1960, The Dharma Chakra was actually a Centre built when His Holiness the 16th Karmapa of the Kagyu sect (a form of Mahayana Buddhism) from Tibet was sent here in exile. The Rumtek Monastery was remodeled on the lines of traditional Tibetan art, architecture and design.
Sikkim has many monasteries by this sect and the quintessential color splash, geometrical patterns on every inch of the wall, from ceiling to floor is what make Dharmachakra Centre grandiose.
The Rumtek monastery is a replica of the one in Tibet, and every effort to authenticate the famous art and history of Tibet has been reconstructed right from the entrance, to the expansive courtyard, the main central building, temple and meditation Centre, the Institute /School where Buddhist philosophy is imparted, and not to forget the building skirting both sides, the monastery for monks and students.
An Instagrammer friend gave me great insight on the laborious procedure of drawing and layers of colour paint made from natural ingredients spanned out on the walls of Rumtek. He was witness and lucky guest of the then royals The Chogyals who gave great patronage, the Monastery took 4 years to build.
Master artists, artisans, worked round the clock to make the ubiquitous art look vibrant and bright.
The temple entrance had heavy security, on enquiry, a monk replied that the temple houses many artifacts and precious jewelry encrusted around the statue of the lord, mainly donated.
Don’t miss shopping here for incense sticks, music CDs of famous Tibetan chants, and the prayer flags blessed by monks at the shrine.