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Ghum Monastery of Tibetan Buddhism
Address: Ghoom, Darjeeling, West Bengal – 734102
Timing: 9.00 am to 6.00 pm
Time required: Two hours
Entry Fee: Free (tickets for still or video camera required)
Affiliation: Tibetan Buddhism (Gelug Sect)
Founded by: Lama Sherab Gyatso
Date of establishment: 1875
Located on the ridges of the mighty Kanchenjunga, Darjeeling is a gem of a hill station. One of the popular tourist destinations of Eastern India, this small town has been attracting travelers for more than two centuries. Darjeeling and its attractions, the colonial architecture, exciting toy train, and the majestic 8,598 meters (28,209 feet) high Kanchenjunga can fill refresh your soul.
Darjeeling, although a small town, is popular for its stunning Buddhist monasteries and shrines. The Yiga Choeling Gompa or the Ghoom Monastery, Darjeeling (also spelled as Ghum Monastery) receives the highest number of tourist footfalls. Established in the mid 19th century, the monastery is decorated with beautiful Tibetan-themed murals and a five-meter high statue of Maitreya (Future Buddha) – was made from the clay brought from Tibet.
The monastery is very close to the Ghoom railway station that makes it easily accessible to travelers. This write-up focuses on some of the known and unknown features of this stunning landmark, offering you the chance to peek at the Himalayas.
Ghum Monastery, built in 1850, is probably the oldest Tibetan Buddhist monastery in the region. Another religious institution, the Samten Choling Monastery, is sometimes referred to as the Ghoom monastery by the locals. If you are planning on visiting this ancient landmark, just tell your tour guide or cab driver you want to visit the old Ghum Monastery.
The architecture of this religious institution would remind you of Tibet. The arches and multiple spires on the roof, some archetypal East Asian features, making this monastery look quite fascinating. As you enter the temple, you will be greeted by several images of important Buddhist deities, important spiritual figures, and older Lamas.
Inside the main praying hall, you will find the giant statue of Buddha named as Gyalwa Shampa or Maitreya Buddha. The term Gyalwa Shampa refers to Buddha of who will come to earth in the future. Interestingly, the statue is one of the biggest in the region and was made from the clay brought from Tibet. Two huge oil lamps adorn the prayer hall, each placed on either side of the Buddha, which are kept burning all year round. These lamps and the peaceful ambiance of the praying hall fill your mind and soul with peace, which cannot be defined in words.
Apart from the Buddha statue, Ghum Monastery, Darjeeling has a huge collection of murals and ancient manuscripts, making this place a treasure trove of information. And, the view is simply breathtaking – snow-capped mountains. On a clear day, you can even catch the glimpse of the mighty Kanchenjunga.
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