Attractions and Religious Sites Darjeeling, Monastery, Religious site, and Tourist Point
Ghoom Monastery is the popular name of the Yiga Choeling Monastery located at Ghoom at an elevation of 8,000 feet, 8 km from Darjeeling in the state of West Bengal. The monastery belongs to the Gelukpa or the Yellow Hat sect and is famous for its 15 feet high special statue of the Maitreya Buddha. The external structure of the building was established in 1850 by the famous Mongolian astrologer and monk Sokpo Sherab Gyatso. Since 1850 to 1905 he had administered as the head of the monastery. Later he went to Tibet and died in his birth province. The monastery can accommodate around sixty monks. The statue of Maithreya Buddha (meaning “The Coming Buddha”), which is 4.57 meter high, of this monastery is of interest here. The monastery also preserves some of the rarest Buddhist manuscripts. Tourists in Darjeeling often visit Tiger point as early as 5 A.M for sunrise, and rightly so. With the white snowy Kanchenjunga in the backdrop, the view is the most majestic during sunrise.
The Ghoom Monastery attracts pilgrims and tourists from far and wide and is a revered place of worship for the Buddhist community. The monks inhabiting the monastery are the guardians to some of the rarest Buddhist manuscripts and a repository of Tibetan translations of some very famous Sanskrit works: Nagamandala by Sriharsa, Meghdoot by Kalidasa, and Nyaya Krit by Dharmakriti (among many others). Tourists visiting the Ghoom Monastery also take a short walk to Samten Choeling, a Yellow Hat sect monastery located nearby. Both the interiors as well as the exteriors of this particular monastery are awe-inspiring. There is peace and calm in every move made in the premises of the Ghoom Monastery.
Considered to be one of the oldest Monasteries in Darjeeling, Ghoom Monastery is world renowned and so almost all the festivals celebrated here is organized in a much grandeur way. More of all, the celebrated monasteries have the privilege of having some of the handwritten Buddhist Manuscripts and during the Festival season especially during Buddha Jayanti, these Manuscripts are praised and people seek blessing bowing their head on the holy manuscripts. The Monastery is built in typical Buddhist religious architecture which was developed in South Asia in the 3rd century B.C.
Architecture of the Ghoom Monastery is quite eye catching, with the centre of the main shrine having a statue of Maitreya Buddha, which is about 15 feet tall. In Darjeeling monasteries, this is the largest and the oldest ones. The specialty of the statue is that it is made of clay completely, which had been brought from Tibet. Furthermore, towards the right side, there are three more statues of Buddha, which are representations of the future, present and past forms of the Lord. Above these statues are images of 14th Dalai Lama, two attendants of Buddha, Tsongkhapa and the Lama Sherab Gyatso and finally the Penchen Lama, who was the 9th incarnation of the Lama. There are many other idols inside the Ghum Monastery. Lord Manjushree idol is located on the top of the Chenrezig while below is the Lord Amitabh Buddha. The left is adorned by idol of Vajrapani or Shakna Dorje, who is considered to be the protector deity of the monastery. Below the Shakna Dorje is the idol of Guru Rinpoche or the great Padmasambhava, who is said to be one of the greatest saints of the Buddhist culture in Tibet.
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