Pemayangtse Monastery at Gyalshing is a Buddhist monastery in Pemayangtse, near Pelling in the northeastern Indian state of Sikkim. It is situated in the summit of the hill above Gyalzing bazaar approximately 140 kilometres from Gangtok in the state of Sikkim. It was Planned, designed and founded by Lama Lhatsun Chempo probably between 1650 to 1651 A.D, or almost at the same time in the founding year of the Sang-ngag Choling monastery. This monastery is one of the oldest and premier monasteries of Sikkim. Pemayangtse is also one of the most famous among the Monasteries of Sikkim.
It was originally built by Lhatsun Chenpo in the 17th century, as a small Lhakhang but was subsequently was rebuild and expanded during the reign of the third Chogyal Chakdor Namgyal who was considered as Lhatsun Chenpo's third reincarnate, Jigme Pawo. This Monastery was started with an enrolment of 108 monks from the family of pure descents with the king himself enrolled as the first number. This monastery follows the Nyingma Order of Tibet Buddhism and controls all other monasteries of that Order in Sikkim. The monks of this monastery are normally chosen from the Bhutias of Sikkim. There are numerous religious idols and objects of worship, most are antic. On the top floor of the monastery there is a wooden sculpture depicting the Maha Gurus Heavenly Palace "Sanghthokpalri". This master piece was completed by the late Dungzin Rimpoche, who took five years to craft it single handed.
The monastery was built for "pure monks" (ta-tshang) meaning "monks of pure Tibetan lineage", celibate and without any physical abnormality. This practice is still retained till date. Only the monks of Pemayangtse Monastery are entitled to the title "ta-tshang". The head lama of this monastery had the unique power / privilege of anointing the Chogyals of the erstwhile monarchy of Sikkim with holy water. Pemayangtse means "Perfect Sublime Lotus", and is said to represent one of the four plexus of the human body. A small lhakhang near the entrance contains a statue of Dorje Phagmo (Vajra Varahi) which was presented to Chogyal Gyurmed Namgyal by Terton Terdag Lingpa of Tibet. This statue is considered to be very sacred due to its association with the great Lama who was considered to be a master of Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism.
The Pemayangtse Monastery is part of Buddhist religious pilgrimage circuit starting with the first monastery at Yuksom known as the Dubdi Monastery, followed by Norbugang Chorten, Tashiding Monastery, the Rabdentse ruins, the Sanga Choeling Monastery, and the Khecheopalri Lake. Its main festival is Guru Drakmar Chham in winter corresponding to the month of February-March. Tentatively the date are 28th and 29th day of the 12th month of the Tibetan Lunar Calander (around February). The two day festival is marked by the sacred religious dances, Chham. The dance concludes on the third day with the unfurling of the Ghyo-Ku' and a huge embroidered Buddhist scroll.Pemayangtse Monastery has more than 100 monks at present and is a parent Monastery of all the monasteries following the Mindroling lineage in Sikkim.
Other Attractions nearby are Hin Shan Gompa a small monastery that can be reached by walking for around 30 minutes. Sangacholing Monastry a monastery stands around seven kilometers from Pemayangtse Monastery and was constructed in the year 1697. Nyingma Dubdi Monastery a small and quiet hamlet of Yoksum is located just around 40 kilometers north of Pemayangtse Monastery. Norbugang Chorten a white chorten in Yoksum made up of stone and earth brought from different part of the Sikkim.
It is nearly 1 Kilometers from Pelling. One can reach Bagdogra airport (IXB) nearly 145 kilometersin West Bengal which is well connected with flights from flights from Kolkata, Patna, Delhi, Guwahati, Mumbai, Paro, Bangkok and Bangalore. The nearest railway link is at New Jalpaiguri Railway Station (NJP) some 145 kilometers by drive i.e. 5 - 6 hours. It is better to reach by road after reaching Siliguri / Bagdogra airport (IXB) / New Jalpaiguri Railway Station (NJP).Private vehicles are available if booked early as there is shortage of registered Taxi.
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