Near Tiger Hill, the Tibetan monastery "Yiga Choeling" of the Gelugpa sect, also called Ghum Monastery, is one of the oldest Tibetan monasteries in the Darjeeling region. Today, it is a favorite destination for boaters in search of Buddhist cultures.
The Ghum Monastery, also called the Sakya Monastery, is an old monastery of the order of Sakya. It was built by a famous monk and astrologer named Lama Sherab Gyatso, who arrived in India in the 1820s. The date of its foundation was not declared until 1875. In 1918, a clay sculpture of Buddha Maitreya being five meters high height has been incorporated into the building for the sum of Rs 25,000.
Over the past two decades, Ghum Monastery has experienced severe crises in monastic funding and attendance. So far, no subsidies have been granted to the monastery, either from the Government of India or from any other source. The Ghum Monastery meets its needs thanks to donations and contributions from local devotees.
Visit the Ghum Monastery
Located 8 km from Darjeeling, Ghum Monastery is one of Darjeeling's main attractions. From the outside, it offers a beautiful scenic view, while its interior imbues you with a peaceful and spiritual atmosphere. Those who visit the building can not remain marble in front of the architectural magnificence of the monastery. In addition, the Ghum Monastery houses a panel of interesting things to discover, to mention only the bells, ornate prayer rolls and drums.
The Ghum Monastery is a place highly revered by the Buddhist community. It contains some rare manuscripts visible nowhere else. You will be warmly welcomed by the monks, proud to unveil their golden statue of "Buddha Maitreya" just at the entrance. According to the words, the sculpture would be encrusted with precious stones.
In the monastery, tourists can view the Thangkas on the walls and access a warehouse of Tibetan translations of famous Sanskrit works, such as the Meghdoot by Kalidasa, the Nagamandala by Sriharsa and the Nyaya Krit by Dharmakriti.
Schedule and entrance fees
The Ghum Monastery is open to the public every day of the week, from Monday to Sunday, 24 hours a day. Entrance to the monastery is free. Cameras and video are allowed inside. A guide is also available on request.
How to get there ?
Darjeeling is one of the most visited tourist destinations in India. By air, Bagdogra Airport is the only airport that connects Darjeeling with other major Indian cities. There are a number of direct flights connecting Darjeeling to Bagdogra from Kolkata, Delhi and Guwahati. From the airport, take a taxi to reach the Ghum Monastery.
If you opt for the train, the nearest Darjeeling train station is in New Jalpaiguri. It has a connection with the main cities of the country, such as Kolkata, Delhi, Guwahati, Chennai, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Bhubaneshwar and Kochi. Arrived at the station, the boaters can hire a taxi to join the Ghum Monastery.
The Ghum Monastery or Yiga Choeling Monastery is about 8 km from Darjeeling. It takes about 30 minutes to reach the monastery by car from the city center.