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Timings : 6:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Time Required : 1-2 hours

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Enchey Monastery, Gangtok Overview

Enchey Monastery, meaning 'the solitary temple', is a holy pilgrimage spot for the Buddhists situated in the magical wonderland of Gangtok surrounded by natural beauty. The presence of tall pine trees, flowery meadows and the beautiful view of the Kanchenjunga Hills, gives the devotees a feeling of being in the middle of a serene and blessed environment. Situated 3 km to the north-east of Gangtok, this monastery is about 200 years old. History has it that Lama Druptob Karpo, who was a very famous tantric with flying powers, flew down to the Maenam Hill and built a hermitage at this exquisite location which was later renovated under the rule of Sidkeong Tulku in the Chinese Pagoda style.

Presently, this pious monastery houses 90 monks and pays respect to Loki Sharia, Lord Buddha, and Guru Padmasambhava. There is a massive metal roofed prayer hall inside Enchey Monastery which consists of numerous images of Gods, Goddesses, and Tantric. The porch has a wheel of law which ripples in perfect sync with the chants of the monks. Apart from its captivating location, the Enchey Monastery is also a famous tourist location due to the Chaam dance (a special prayer offering by monks by wearing masks) organized on the 18th, 19th day of the 12th lunar month as per the Tibetan calendar. Pang Lhabsol is another festival celebrated in the monastery which brings the Bhutias and Lepchas together by swearing on blood-brotherhood with the witness being the Khangchendzonga. If you are interested in learning about the culture of the monks or their history in a surreal and peaceful environment away from the noise of the city, then, this is the place for you.

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Architecture of Enchey Monastery

The Enchey Monastery was constructed in 1840 by the eighth Chogyal after which the small hamlet of Gangtok grew into a pilgrim place. The monastery was built in 1909 just like a Chinese Pagoda during the rule of Sikyong Tulku. The foundation was laid down at the exact same point where Lama Druptub Karbo had his hermitage. The famed monastery also consists of a shining golden cupola on the top and houses a variety of images of Gods, religious objects and Goddesses.

The principal deities worshipped at Enchey Monastery include Loki Sharia, Lord Buddha, and Guru Padmasambhava. The walls of the large prayer hall are entirely covered with paintings, and murals of the four religious kings, the deities of the four cardinal directions and the galaxy of Mahayana Buddhist deities. The manuscripts of scriptures are stored in an almirah. The regal monastery has four pillars which support it and are exquisitely carved.

The Enchey Monastery which was constructed under the Nyingma order houses a total of 90 monks inside. The windows are ornately carved and painted. There is an extensive collection of masks which is used for the various ritual dances that are held here every year. It also has a serene atmosphere just like its name and maintains a really good library worth visiting. There are colourful prayer flags fluttering around the monastery as well which create a very peaceful environment altogether.

Festivals Celebrated in Enchey Monastery

Many festivals are celebrated at the Enchey Monastery including the Detor Cham which is a colourful and lively Cham dance festival that takes place on the 18th and 19th day of the 12th lunar month of the Tibetan calendar. The Singhe Chaam is another festival that is celebrated in the monastery once in every three years. Pang Lhabsol is another festival wherein there is blood-brotherhood swearing between the Lepchas and Bhutias in the presence of Khangchendzonga as a witness.

In the Cham dances, which are masked dances, the dancers wear ornate dresses to perform dances that represent the Tibetan deity figurines of the Mahakala who is the protector and mythical snow lions both of which show a third eye on their foreheads to show the need for inner reflection. The dance festivals take place before the Losar, the Tibetan New Year day and Losoong.

Best Time To Visit Enchey Monastery

You can be a part of the Detor Cham festival which is organized every year in September and October. During this festival, you can enjoy the famous Monks Cham Dance. Also, since Enchey Monastery is situated on a high altitude, it becomes difficult to reach during winters and when there is heavy rainfall.

How To Reach Enchey Monastery, Gangtok

The monastery is situated on the Nathula-Gangtok road which is why it can easily be reached via road. You can also hire a taxi from Gangtok and reach Enchey Monastery in 15 to 20 minutes or walk all the way till there. You can stop on the way and ask for directions from the locals.

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