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Religious Tours of Darjeeling

Enshrouded in the verdant tea gardens, surrounded by dense vegetation on the nearby hills and having the ethereal backdrop of Himalayas, Darjeeling leaves one speechless. It has been a renowned hill station from the times of British Raj itself and it is still incomparable in its beauty. Being a known hill station, it has many spots of tourist attraction. It is also populated with innumerable monasteries, an influence of Tibetan population in Darjeeling. Hence it is an ideal place to seek spiritual solace as well.

Organized religious tours of Darjeeling must definitely include the monasteries and shrines in and around Darjeeling. Darjeeling also has Dhirdham temple. A few monasteries that are frequented by the tourists are Ghoom monastery, Aloobaari monastery and Bhutia Bustee monastery. All these have enchanting Tibetan monastic architecture and houses many Tibetan artefacts. Other monasteries of interest to those on a spiritual tour are Dali Monastery, Delling Gompa, Tashi Dargyaligh Monastery and Sherpa Buddhist Association Monastery.

Ghoom Monastery or Yoga Choeling Gompa is one of the largest monasteries in Darjeeling and is an ideal place to start the religious tours of Darjeeling. It belongs to the Yellow sect of Buddhists and is famous for its 15 feet tall Buddha idol, Maitreya Buddha. The colourfully adorned monastery preserves a few rare and invaluable Buddhist manuscripts. It has all the 108 volumes of Buddhist Tibetan Gospel. Besides, it has an ethereal setting in most serene of the landscape.

Yet another monastery providing spiritual solace to the visitors is Aloobaari monastery or Mag Dhog Yolmowa Buddhist monastery found by its Head Priest, Sangay Lama. It has a lot of Buddha idols in different forms. The sacred altar has beautiful statues of Buddha and Padma Sambhava. The embossed painting adorning the entire interior walls of the monastery are believed to be done totally in herbs and grasses. The monastery also houses some ancient Buddhist scriptures.

Bhutia Bustee monastery or Karma Dorjee Chyoling Monastery is a colorful monastery belonging to the Red Sect of Buddhist Lamas. It is located in the town itself, near Chowrasta. It is surrounded by the settlements of the locals on one side and is set beautifully against the slopes of emerald green forests. It looks as if the monastery is rising out of the slope. It has the original copy of The Tibetan Book of Dead.

Druk Thupten Sangag Choeling Monastery in Dali (Dali Monastery) is yet another place visited by those on religious tours to Darjeeling. It is the headquarters of the supreme head of the Kargyupa sect of Buddhists, Drukchen Rinpoche XII. Sangchhen Thong or Delling Gompa belonging to Lamas of Pemayangtse monastery is located in Ging. It was originally located near the present day Gorkha Rangmanch, and later shifted because of a request from the British. The blowing of conch shells and other religious rituals used to break the peaceful atmosphere. Tashi Dargyaligh Monastery is one of the oldest in Darjeeling among the monasteries of Tamang community of Gorkhas, who generally follow Nyingmapa sect of Buddhism. And finally there is Sherpa Buddhist Association Monastery, near Chowrasta. It belongs to Nyingmapa sect and has the stunning statues of Chentezig, Sangay Hopamay and Guru Rimpoche.

Beside all the Buddhist monasteries in Darjeeling, there is Dhirdham Temple, established in 1939, and modelled after the famous Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu. Eventually, Darjeeling has so many religious shrines, monasteries and temples that a religious tour to Darjeeling could be a unique experience to those on a spiritual journey.

Last Updated On: 2011/07/12

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