Distance: 1600 mtrs/124 km | Time: 4 hrs approx
Drive from Bagdogra to Rumtek. Over night halt in a hotel.
Distance: 24 km | Time: 45 mins
Visit the Dharma Chakra centre at Rumtek. Located on the hill opposite Gangtok this magnificent monastery and a college of Buddhist learning was built by the late Gyalwa Karmapa, the head of the Kagyupa sect, in the early 1960s as an exact replica of the original Kagyu monastery in Tibet. It is also the international headquarters of the Karma Kagyu centres. Drive to Gangtok. Over night halt in a hotel
Day starts with visit to the Enchey monastery, located about 2 km and on a hillock above Gangtok, this monastery was built by Lama Druptob Karpo, a tantric master known for his power of flying. Built in the early part of this century, it follows the Nyingmapa tradition and has a pagoda style architecture unique to the Sikkimese monasteries.
Research Institute of Tibetology : Situated close to the Chorten this institute is a repository of the largest collection of Tibetan artifacts outside Tibet. Also renowned worldwide for the study of Buddhist philosophy and religion, it is a treasure house of rare Thankas, Buddhist icon and objects of art.
Do-Drul Chorten: One of the most important Stupas of Sikkim built by the late Venerable Trulsi Rimpoche in 1945-46, it contains a mandala of Dorji-Phurpa, holy texts, mantras and is encircled by 108 prayer wheels.
Ngor Gompa: The only Sakya monastery in the state is situated at Rongyek around 5 km from Gangtok. This three-storied monastery has an idol of the Sakya Muni.
Day return excursion to Phodang and Phensang monasteries.
Phodong monastery: Built in the mid 18th century, it is one of the important Kagyupa monasteries of Sikkim. Along with Rumtek and Ralang monasteries it hosts the annual "Kagyad Chaam" - the masked dance, on the 28 th & 29th of the tenth month in the Tibetan calendar. This corresponds to the second fortnight of December. A Kilometer uphill is the Labrang monastery which belongs to the Nyingmapa sect of Buddhism. Enroute to Phodong, a stream of prayer flags leads to the Phensang monastery. This monastery follows the Nyingmapa sect and has about 300 monks.
Return to Gangtok. Over night halt in a hotel.
Distance: 1950 mtrs/ 98 km | Time: 4 hrs approx
Enroute a visit to the only Tea Garden in Sikkim at Temi to see the processing of the internationally famed brew. Over night halt in a Mt. Narsing – the village resort.
Day excursion to monasteries at Ralang. Situated 13 kms away against the spectacular backdrop of the peaks of Narsing, Jopuno and Kabur are the two monasteries at Ralang.
The old Ralang monastery was built in 1730 on a site blessed by an earlier incarnation of Karmapa where the grains of rice thrown by him from Tibet had landed. The monastery is one of the most sacred and important monasteries following the Kagyupa tradition. " Pang Lhabsol " the worship of Mt Khangchendzonga & " Kagyad " Chaam masked dances are held every year on the 15th day of the seventh month of the Buddhist calendar coinciding with August/September and on the 29th day of the tenth month just before Losoong - the Sikkimese New Year in December.
The New Ralang monastery - Palchen Choeling Monastic Institute, was built by the XIIth Gyaltsab Rimpoche, one of the four regents of the Kagyupa sect and completed in 1995. This is the biggest monastery in Sikkim and its architecture and paintings have been painstakingly undertaken to maintain the authenticity of the Kagyupa monasteries. The sacred Mahakala Dance is held here every year in November.
Also a visit the Kungdraling monastery at Kewzing which is the only monastery in Sikkim dedicated to the "Bon" faith, the religious practice prevailing in Tibet before the advent Buddhism. The present day Buddhism has imbibed a lot of traditions, rituals and practice from this faith and for a layman it is impossible to segregate this monastery from that following any other tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.
A short walk from the resort is the Doling monastery located amidst a thick cardamom plantation. This monastery built in AD follows the Nyingmapa sect.
Distance: 2055 mtrs/ 52 km | Time: 1 ½ hrs approx
A drive down to the Rangit valley and up to Pelling.
Visit the Pemayangtse Monastery . Built in the 18thcentury AD, this monastery follows the Nyingmapa sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Pemayangtse – "the Sublime Lotus", also houses the famed "Zangdopalri", a fascinating model of the celestial abode of Guru Padma Sambhava, crafted single-handedly out of wood by the late Dungzim Rimpoche. Over night halt in a hotel.
Distance: Day excursion to Khecheodpalri Lake.
The day starts with an early morning walk to Sangachholing Monastery 45 min located on a hillock above Pelling. Built in the 17thcentury by Gyalwa Lhatsun Chenpo, the patron saint of Sikkim, it is considered to be the second oldest monastery in Sikkim. This spot commands a breathtaking view of the Snowcapped Mountains and the hills, valleys and villages of West Sikkim.
Khecheodpalri - Lake Distance: 24 km./11 | Time: 4 hours - also known as the wishing lake is located in the midst of a dense forest .This unusually calm lake is considered very sacred and no water sport or other activities besides prayers and worship are allowed around it.
Yuksom - Distance: 40 km | Time: 2 hrs After packed lunch near the lake drive to Yuksom. A quaint little village, Yuksom is also the take off point for trekking to Dzongri and Goecha-la. This is also the place where the three Lamas first met and consecrated the first king of Sikkim in 1641. The Norbugang chorten and the Coronation throne stand mute testimony to this historic event.
Overnight stay in a hotel.
Distance: 1250 mtrs/ 121 km Time: 5 ½ hrs approx
An early morning walk to Dubdi monastery40 min the oldest monastery in Sikkim built in 1642 by Lhatsun Chempo.
The Tashiding monastery is reached after a 45 minutes walk from the roadside market 20 kms away from Yuksom. Tashiding literally meaning the "Central Elevated Glory" is the most sacred monastery complex in Sikkim and was described by Guru Rimpoche as the heart of "Beyul Demazong". Built in 1716 AD the complex is also the location of the "Thongwa Rongdol" Chorten. Just a sight of this sacred Stupa is said to wash away one's sins.
Overnight stay in a hotel in Kalimpong.
Kalimpong – next destination.