The Sublime Perfect Lotus
Although Dubdi monastery in west Sikkim is considered the oldest
monastery having been built in 1705, it is the Pemayangste monastery
(about 118 kms from Gangtok) in west Sikkim which is held in highest
Monasteries form an integral part of Sikkim. There is
a plethora of monasteries in Sikkim. In fact there are almost nearly
200 monasteries or Gompas belonging to either the Nyingmapa Sect or the
Kargyupa Sect but Sikkim also has monasteries of the Gelugpa, Sakyapa
and Bon faith.
Literally meaning "rock-cave" or cave hermitage. Although there are many
such hermitages in Sikkim, there are four which are of special
importance, one in each direction. The four are hallowed as caves where
Guru Rinpoche and Lhatsun Chhembo are said to have halted and meditated.
Lha-ri nying phu:
The north face of the four, Lha-ri nying phu is situated at a
3-day trek precarious trek from Tashiding, west Sikkim. Not only is this
the most difficult to reach, it is also the holiest. Its name means "the
Old Cave on Godís Hill".
Kah-do Sang phu:
"The Cave of the Occult Fairies" is on the south gate and one of the
easiest to reach. A five-minute walk across a pedestrian bamboo bridge
from the Jorethang-Gyalshing highway just beyond Reshi hot-springs takes
one to Kah-do Sang Phu where one can find footprints ascribed to
between Tendong and Maenam hills in south Sikkim, Pe-phu lies near
Sangmoo Gumpa about 5 kms from Ravangla, south Sikkim, en route to
Singtam. A huge cavern, believed to extend by a bifurcation to both
Tendong and Maenam hill, visitors can still walk in about a
quarter of a mile. As low as five feet at places, the cave opens up to a
towering 100 feet at some sections.
De-chhen phu: "The
Cave of Happiness" is accessible only in autumn when the snow that hides
it, melts. Distanced from Rimbi, west Sikkim, by a 3-day trek, it lies
in the snows above Dzongri.