- Holiest monastery in Sikkim
- Serenity of the place
- Rich heritage and culture
- Off beat location
- Mind refreshing
Tashiding Monastery apart from being the holiest monastery in Sikkim, is also a rare gem tucked away on a mountaintop (something we were not aware of).
Last year, on our trip to Sikkim we decided to take a one day trip to Tashiding Monastery. Our penchant for exploring off beat places is what prompted us. We took a share jeep from Geyzing to Tashiding town, a journey of 30 kms. We had already called ahead at the government guest house at Tashiding town, as the other hotels were rather flaky in their online presentation. The journey was enough to tell us that the monastery was not in the popular tourist circuit. We reached at afternoon and checked in. The guest house was set outside the busy market of the town.
In the evening, we went out to explore the monastery. Upon reaching the heart of the small town, we learned that the monastery was situated at the mountaintop, around 3 km away from the town and renting a car is advisable. It was already quite late in the evening, so we just explored the town. It was just a small town with the occasional dirty streets, the only thing that stood out of place were the few old structures with scriptures on it, popping up out of nowhere in the middle of the town.
The whole town went indoors by 6 p.m. Me and my dad, crazy about star gazing, went out at about 8 p.m. to take a look at the sky. As our lodge was at the end of the town, it was fringed by thick clumps of trees all around. We simply decided to lie down in the empty parking lot, as we were the only boarders. Millions and trillions of stars shine upon us, the sky felt almost white. Soon we had dinner and slept.
Early next morning, at around 5 a.m., me and my dad left for the monastery. Walking 3 kms uphill was no big deal but we needed to start early so that we can be back early, as we were leaving later that same day. The walk was extremely pleasant. The whole road was adorned with prayer flags, wild flowers and colourful walls with scriptures.
A single scooty with a monk passed us during the whole hike. It ended before it could even begin. The pitch road ended and gave way to a cobblestone path.
It was immaculate and absolutely picturesque. Everything evoked a strange sense of peacefulness.
Upon finally reaching the monastery, we were awestruck. A huge gate greeted us.
Beyond the gate, there laid a huge expanse of ground, with an even huge and exquisite looking monastery. We have been to many monasteries but never seen anything like that. A monk greeted us near the gate and we conversed in broken Nepali. He was delighted to see us there so early in the morning. We crossed the huge ground, surrounded with small structures and buildings.
Upon reaching the main building, we sat on one of the benches in front of it in complete awe of the overwhelming beauty of the architecture. The rich heritage it stored was beaming out of it. It was quite difficult to capture the whole building in a single frame. The building rose majestically as a reminder of our history.
Suddenly, a group of 6-7 dogs came running and snuggled upto us, it was the warmest welcome we ever got. It almost felt like they have known us forever.
The monastery is flanked by ice-capped mountains. The presence of snowy mountains all around enhanced the etherealism of the monastery more and more.
Near the backward side of the compound, there is an enclosure filled with hundreds of chortens and a BIG bell. We were not sure about the purpose of the bell but it was taller than my dad. We could only imagine it’s thunderous gong echoing through the valley and the mountains.
The atmosphere inside it was heavenly, you can easily let your guard down and soak in the divine aura all around. Sunlight filtered in through the trees on the pristine whiteness of the chortens. It created a perfect amalgamation of darkness and light. The gentle hush all around touched the soul in a reassuring way.
Tashiding is a place you will be drawn on to for the peace and calm it exudes. The serenity combined with the beauty and a sense of positivity all around really touches the core of your heart and offers a solution to all your problems. I am not a religious person but I felt a touch of divinity there. We explored for more than an hour, then had tea at a charming place outside the monastery and went back to the town.