Sunday, May 30, 2010

Tashiding Monastery: Where Guru blessed?-i

Tashiding, in West Sikkim was one place I did wanted to visit for the last few years but it never happened until last month and I am in high spirits I finally did it. Regarded as the holiest of monasteries in Sikkim, the Tashiding Monastery over the centuries does hold strong its own legends and folks. The first look I had of the faintly seen yellow roof of the monastery on top of a hill from the opposite roadway gave me a pleasant feel that was beyond my expectation. The Monastery is built on top of a hill between Rangit and Ratong rivers.
I am told of a legend that Guru Padmashambhava had shot an arrow to select his place of meditation and that place is the present site of the Tashiding Monastery. It is even said the rock is still found at Tashiding Monastery premises where the great Guru had meditated.
One of the reasons I wanted to visit this place was to see the stupa of Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö, regarded as the most outstanding Tibetan master of the last century. I tried my best but I failed to recognize it among the many chorten lying out there. It was only later I was informed that the golden coloured chorten was the one I was looking at. The other important holy chorten Tashiding is very famous is “Thong-wa rang toa”. It is believed that the “funeral granules of the mythical Buddha” is preserved inside it.
Build in 1716 according to “The Gazeetter of Sikhim” Tashiding Monastery was the fifth monastery to be build in Sikkim after, Sanga Cholling, Dubdi, Pemayangste and Gangtok  is a sacred and is regarded as the centre of Sikkim state that is surrounded by four holy caves. The meaning of the name “Tashiding” is ‘devoted central glory’. I first heard about this famed monastery during my days at Weekend Review Newspaper some 7-8 years back when one of my colleagues had visited the place to cover the “Bhumchu” event. Bhumchu festival is a rare event in which a blessed vase that holds water in it predicts the future of Sikkim for the year. Sounds incredibly and I am sure some day I shall witness this “rare event” too. The event held every year draws large followers.
Nagadak Sempa Chempo, one of the three men behind the coronation of the first Sikkim Chogyal at Yoksum in the 17th century built a small Lhakhang at this place. The main monastery was later built by Pedi Wangmo during the reign of Chakdor Namgyal, the third Chogyal of Sikkim Kingdom and it is said some of the relics built then still exist inside the present monastery.