Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Pemayangste Monastery: with ritual and belief


Pemayangste Monastery in west Sikkim near Pelling is the second oldest monastery in Sikkim after Dubdi monastery. One of the much sought after tourist destinations for its natural beauty and off course the cosmic charm of its monastery this heaven abode is at the height of 6840 ft and the wonderful view of Himalayan ranges and surrounding hills is a magnificent pleasure.

Built by Gyalwa Lhatsun Chenpo this ancient two-storey masterpiece belongs to Nyingmapa sect of Buddhism and is 140 km west from Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim.

This 300-year-old monastery yearly holds distinct religious chaam (dances) that it is favorites among the foreign tourists. Originally this monastery was used as an institution of preparing future monks.

One of the major attractions of this three-century-old institution is the presence of “Sangtoedpalri”which means ‘abode of Guru Rimpoche’ on the second floor kept sealed in a glass. Lhatsun Chenpo conceived it where the eight manifestation of Guru Padmasambhawa is scripted in a single wood that is more than 10 ft tall. Believe it or not in the entire making not a single nail have been nailed.

The present found “Sangtoedpalri” was remade in 1960 when the earlier one was dismantled when the repair work at the monastery took place. After seven long years of search Dungzing Rimpoche completed the earlier work of Lhatsun Chenpo with much help from the then Chogyal of Sikkim.

Of the many religious chaam ordained when it comes to Pang Lhabsol it is second to none. The Pang Lhabsol festival is very unique and worships the snowy peaks of the guardian deity of Sikkim, Mt. Khangchendonga. It is observed every year for the protection and to grace the land with good harvest, timely rainfall and to prevent from all types of natural calamities. The word Pang Lhabsol means honouring of the deities.

It was the third king of Sikkim Chogyal Chakdor Namgyal during 1700 AD, visualized the form of pangtoad dance. It is believed that an angel came to his dream and taught him the dance. From Rabdenste palace the first capital of Sikkim the dance shifted to Tsuglakhang Palace at Gangtok and then to present Pemayangste monastery after Sikkim got merge to Indian union.