1. Yiga Choeling Monastery
Prayer bells outside the monastery.
Yiga Choeling Monastery is situated at Ghoom, which is 8 kilometers away from Darjeeling town. It is popularly known as Ghoom (Ghum) Monastery, established in 1850 by Sherab Gyatso. The old Ghoom Monastery is laid on ideas of the newest school of Tibetan Buddhism; Gelug-pa.
Maitreya Buddha of Ghoom Monastery .
The statue of Maitreya Buddha (15 feet) is draped in royal clothes.The library of this 160 years old monastery boasts of sacred Kangyur texts, which are supposed to be the work of Buddha himself.
A believer in search of enlightenment .
2. Druk Sangag Choling Monastery
Ramp to the monastery .
Druk Sangag Choling Monastery is located on the Hill-Cart road and is about 5 kilometers from the district head-quarter. It is popularly known as Dali monastery standing adjacent to the fire station of Darjeeling. The monastery is newly founded in the year 1971 on the principles of Kagyu-pa.
Kagyu sect is one among the three “Red-hat sects” of Tibetan Buddhism. The name is derived from the colour of hats that the monks wear during any occasion. The famous 300 years old Rumtek monastery in Sikkim is also from the same sect which is presently headed by Ogyen Trinley Dorje .
Hostel inside the monastery .
The monastery is home to more than 200 monks and a couple of nuns. The campus has a nunnery and an elementary school for young monks. It also has a cafeteria “Kunga Palijor Coffe Shop” that serves delicious dumplings and coffee.
3. Chitre Monastery
View of the monastery during sunset.
The monastery of Chitre village is at an elevation of more than 8300ft. The village serves as the first resting point for the trekkers of Singilila National Park. It is about 3 kilometers uphill from Manebhanjang . Like Dali, this monastery also belongs to Kagyu sect and even attracts visitors from Ladakh. The famous monastery of Alchi in Ladakh follow the same line of teachings of Tibetan Buddhism.
Vertical Darchor prayer flags in Chitre.
The monastery has a small research center for students studying Buddhism. It has antique statues of Buddha made of precious and semi-precious metal from South East Asian countries like Thailand and Cambodia.
Chortens of Chitre.
4. Samten Choling Monastery
View of the monastery from its terrace.
Samten Choling Monastery is popularly known as New Ghoom Monastery to the tourists. The Monastery is in Ghoom and is a new establishment if compared to Yiga Choeling ( Old Ghoom) Monastery which is located within a kilometer from Samten Choling.
Inside the monastery.
The 26 feet statue of Maitreya Buddha, here is in Bhiksu (monk) avatar. Like Old Ghoom Monastery it follows principles of “Gelug-pa”. This sect is also known as “Yellow-hat "sect. The terrace of the monastery gives an enchanting view of Darjeeling town. The railway track of Darjeeling Himalayan Railway runs adjacent to its entrance.
Je Tsongkhapa , founder of Gelug-pa sect in Yellow-hat.