travel

Glimpses of a Monastery

Gangtok, Sikkim is the land of monasteries and has at least two hundred. Yes. Really. Each one is more beautiful than the other. We only had time to see three. But my heart was full. The interiors are gorgeous and the expression on the larger than life statues of the Buddha is just wonderful. Here are some pictures of the Gonjang Monastery in Gangtok.

A beautiful entry arch
A brief history: (Yes, get ready for a real tongue twister!)
Gonjang Monastery is near Tashi View Point and established in the year 1981. Thee founder is H.E. Tingkye Gonjang Rimpoche. He was recognized as an incarnation of Yolmo Terton Ngakchang Shakya Zangpo, a 15th century Nyingmapa Terton.
The monastery follows Jangter tradition of Nyingmapa school of Tibeten Buddhism. In the early 19th century, it was Rigzin Pema Choephel who was also responsible for constructing the first ever Gonjang Monastery at Tingkey, Tsang province which was named as โ€œGonjang Samten Choephugโ€. Monk students study for nine years and are taught all kinds of monastic stuff along with Tibetan language and English. Their education includes comparative studies of Indian and Tibetan Buddhist philosophy based on moral values. ย 

Take a look at the door knocker
Looking out from this entry way, is this little prayer room where they light the butter lamps. Where you see blank in the background, should have been a panoramic view of mountains. Rains. Hence zero visibility!
Want a closer look? Visitors are not allowed inside. This is what it looks like from the outside:
Let’s go inside the monastery, shall we? This breathtaking sight meets us – Padmasambhava Rinpoche (or the coming Buddha)
I just love the expression on this Buddha’s face! Like he’s privately amused by the way the world is going.
A close-up- did you notice that little tooth showing on the left? That’s what makes it so charming.
Men at work – creating a brand new Buddha
I looked up. More men at work repainting the colorful interiors.They were quite unperturbed with our photography attempts
The prayer drum. Turning it dissolves all your sins ๐Ÿ˜€
It is so tough to choose from hundreds of photos! Next week I’ll show you what I brought home
Now let’s head over to the lovelyย Unknown Mami’sย blog and join the others and travel the world and….have a great week ahead, folks!

Thank you for subscribing to my blog! Do consider leaving a comment – or just reply to this email! I’d love to know what you think.

Cheers!

Vidya

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53 Comments

  • Reply
    Terri Sonoda
    June 24, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    Such a feast for the eyes! I don’t know how you take it all in when actually there. It must truly be breathtaking. I love the colors and intricate detail. And the fact that each Buddha is different, and somehow in small ways. Just lovely, Vidya. Thank you so much for sharing this with us. I’m still hoping some day I can visit these places. In the meantime, I have you for my tour guide…thankfully! XOXOs

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      June 29, 2012 at 5:43 pm

      You know what, Terri – I have had to consciously learn to take it all in. The camera helps too as it requires me to focus ๐Ÿ˜€ But Sikkim was so breathtaking, I just didn’t get enough of it. I always found that when we went on temple trips, I enjoyed the architecture so much, I never remembered the deity! I do hope you visit sometime. That would be so wonderful! Hugs!

  • Reply
    Betsy at Zen Mama
    June 24, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    Beautiful shots! Everything is so colorful! It just makes you feel happy to look at these pictures! I love your shot of the door knocker and of the ongoing work on one of the Buddhas. Very interesting about the butter lamps. I’ve never thought of lighting a lamp that contained butter but it is an oil I guess!
    Thanks for the tour!

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      June 29, 2012 at 5:45 pm

      Butter lamps are quite common here, Betsy. In fact, in one of the monasteries we saw, there was this very massive urn sort of thing and I touched its side…was HOT. Inside it there was another receptacle with the butter and wick. That never goes off you know? They take care to refill it constantly. I fell in love with the doorknocker too! What a beautiful place!

  • Reply
    vanita
    June 24, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    Ur Sunday in my city posts always take me to the most beautiful places. Live them!

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      June 29, 2012 at 5:45 pm

      Thank you, Vanita! May we meet some day! ๐Ÿ™‚ Hugs!

  • Reply
    Vishnu
    June 24, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    Love these pictures! I want to live in one now:) (a monastery that is!!) The door knocker photo and hundreds of lights are my favorite!

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      June 29, 2012 at 5:47 pm

      They are beautiful, Vishnu. I somehow find the sight of the monks very soothing. They all have a hostel attached to the “temple” and it is wonderful to see them all smiling and going about their stuff. That little room with the lamps was lovely and warm – outside it was so cold! I am sure you would have loved visiting the place!

  • Reply
    Harleena Singh
    June 24, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    Awesome Vidya!

    Monasteries in Gangtok can’t be left out and there are so many to cover, that we had to leave out some of the not so popular ones.

    Wow! You surely did manage to learn all those historical names and how they came up- something I’m really bad at. But yes, we did bring along a few ‘Tankas’ and those door knockers, which dad has decorated in his drawing room. I wonder if you can across those 7 or was it 9 lucky symbols also they have there – made out of wood.

    Thanks for sharing and looking forward to more snaps of your trip- bring back old memories again. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      June 29, 2012 at 5:41 pm

      Hi Harleena! I am sad we missed Rumtek Monastery. Maybe next time! I wouldn’t mind visiting just the monasteries… so serenely beautiful! I don’t remember the symbols, unless you mean the prayer on the prayer wheel etc. which appear to be in Japanese. Planning to do a post on Sunday with pictures of the shops there ๐Ÿ˜€ Thank you so much for being here!

  • Reply
    Keetha Broyles
    June 24, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    There is something that will dissolve away all our sins – – –

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      June 29, 2012 at 5:43 pm

      I am loving that belief, Keetha! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    My Inner Chick
    June 24, 2012 at 7:25 pm

    –breathtaking.

    the colours. the door knocker. the Buddah w/ his tooth!

    Is India known for her gorgeous colours? Tell me more!

    Xxx SMOOCHESssss.

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      June 29, 2012 at 5:52 pm

      We’re all about color, Kim! ๐Ÿ˜€ Breathtaking was what it was! Love ya! Hugs!

  • Reply
    La Principessa Errante
    June 24, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    Beautiful, Beautiful, Beautiful!!!!!!!

  • Reply
    Wayne W Smith
    June 24, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    Very beautiful.

  • Reply
    Vetrimagal
    June 24, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    The place and the weather makes it perfect for those awesome color display!
    Thanks for sharing with us, such lovely photographs.

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      June 29, 2012 at 5:49 pm

      Thank you, Pattu. Unforgettable memories!

  • Reply
    Tara R.
    June 24, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    These temples are magnificent. I can only imagine how awe-inspiring them are in person.

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      June 29, 2012 at 5:50 pm

      Yes, Tara. The entire wall was filled with intricate paintings. Each figure is significant – and one could spend all day there and not finish looking at everything! ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Reply
    Stasha
    June 24, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    Beautiful images. A door knocker like this always Leeds somewhere magical!

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      June 29, 2012 at 5:50 pm

      And it did, Stasha! Thank you for coming by.

  • Reply
    Kimberly
    June 24, 2012 at 11:57 pm

    Every time you post these glimpses into your hub of the world, I feel so at peace. I really do.
    I just want to leap into the screen and be there soaking in all the beautiful colour.
    xo

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      June 29, 2012 at 5:56 pm

      Ah, Kim, how I wish you could do that – I’d be waiting here with open arms to grab you in a bear hug! But wait. I might be able to do that yet! ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Reply
    Laurie Matherne
    June 24, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    The color and imagery are fascinating. My favorite photo is the second one. It really looks like it belongs to you, because of the way you placed your title.

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      June 29, 2012 at 5:51 pm

      Ooh, I would have loved to live in one, Laurie. The details in the paintings inside are mind-boggling!

  • Reply
    Bill Dorman
    June 24, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    Wow, pretty amazing; and I’m guessing they let you take pics too….with permission……..:).

    Thanks for sharing; always good pics.

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      June 29, 2012 at 5:53 pm

      We cleverly visited during lunch time, Bill. If they’re praying no one is allowed there. They were quite friendly about the photos. I went in thinking only the lens in my eye would be able to enjoy the sights. ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Reply
    retired not tired
    June 24, 2012 at 10:48 pm

    Thank you for allowing me to travel to a place I may never travel too. However I am now inspired to think about it.

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      June 29, 2012 at 5:55 pm

      Thank you! ๐Ÿ™‚ I am so happy you’re here!

  • Reply
    del king
    June 25, 2012 at 11:22 am

    What a beautiful place to visit.
    I love visiting Buddhist monasteries and temples, so colourful and busy yet serene and peaceful.

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      June 29, 2012 at 5:57 pm

      Right, @del king! The busy part is so cheerful – it is lovely to see them moving around. I love the sound of their prayer bell!

  • Reply
    Hajra
    June 25, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    You bring back old memories. I had visited the monasteries and yes the look on the Buddha’s face is something that has stayed with me for a long time.

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      June 29, 2012 at 5:58 pm

      ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you, Hajra, for being here! Which monasteries did you visit? Rumtek is supposed to be the most beautiful there!

  • Reply
    Dr Samujjala
    June 26, 2012 at 6:40 am

    You taken some amazing pics! its almost like taking your reader with you. Keep up the ggood work ๐Ÿ™‚
    take care

    The_Beauty_Doctor_Speaks

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      June 29, 2012 at 5:58 pm

      Thank you, Dr. Samujjala! ๐Ÿ™‚ Glad you enjoyed the photos!

  • Reply
    Barbara
    June 26, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    Hi, Vidya, this is so beautiful and serene, I closed my eyes and saw myself walking through the temple feeling at peace. Thank you so much for sharing your life!

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      June 29, 2012 at 5:59 pm

      Hi Barbara! ๐Ÿ™‚ Welcome! It was indeed lovely, especially because of the weather – I think. It was like we were nestled in the clouds! I am glad you dropped by!

  • Reply
    Galen Pearl
    June 26, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    You live where everyone in my part of the world wants to visit! What gorgeous photos. When I lived in Thailand, I loved going to visit temples and monasteries. So full of deep wisdom energy and light. Even in the rain! I love all your posts, and I especially love your travel/photo posts.

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      June 29, 2012 at 6:01 pm

      Thank you, dearest Galen! Do I sound weird if I say I look forward to my Sunday posts? I love picking a group from the hundreds I take! I’d love to visit Thailand some day! I love that there’s so much to see in India!

  • Reply
    Rahul Bhatia
    June 27, 2012 at 5:30 am

    A lovely visual post Vidya! Brought back memories of my visit to Gangtok, many years ago:)

  • Reply
    Akash Kumar
    June 27, 2012 at 10:20 am

    God you just brought back all my memories from my vacations to Gangtok and Darjeeling 3 years ago. I feel fresh just by watching the pics you have posted. It is really the best time to visit Sikkim.

    I just love the lovely cloudy weather of Gangtok. Would really want to visit it again.

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      June 29, 2012 at 6:03 pm

      ๐Ÿ™‚ I am happy to hear you’ve visited these places, Akash! The clouds were gorgeous! Like heaven.

  • Reply
    Massivebuoy
    June 27, 2012 at 11:13 am

    Vidya, how could I not stop by here and enjoy a bit of your culture? It’s amazing what the different cultures of the world see as beauty and how it manifests itself. Those photos are truly spectacular.

    Thanks for sharing them.

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      June 29, 2012 at 6:05 pm

      Ralph! Welcome! I am so happy to see you here. Thank you for coming by. The fun thing about India is our multicultural ambiance. Each region is so different, yet similar in many ways. Visiting Sikkim was almost like visiting a foreign country!

  • Reply
    Unknown Mami
    June 28, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    I love the knocker. I could see how turning the prayer drum would be soothing.

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      June 29, 2012 at 6:06 pm

      The lovely part of that drum was – in spite of being so huge, it turned so silently and smoothly! I enjoyed turning it!

  • Reply
    Nita Davis
    June 28, 2012 at 8:17 pm

    How very intricate and colorful. I wonder how one studies in such a visually stimulating surrounding, I know I would find it difficult.

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      June 29, 2012 at 6:07 pm

      ๐Ÿ™‚ Nita, I know what you mean. I used to find it hard to study even on my terrace, because the clouds distracted me! I guess most of the residents take the sights for granted! Thank you for coming by!

  • Reply
    thoughtstomull.com
    July 4, 2012 at 3:18 am

    Absolutely fabulous photos, Vidya! I love your photo-journals!!

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