Popular for its monastery, the second oldest monastery in Sikkim, Pemayangtse is located about 107 km west of Gangtok. At an elevation of 5840 ft, the town has the backdrop of snow-capped mountains and valleys with dense forests cover. Pemayangtse means ‘perfect sublime lotus’ and it is believed to symbolize one of the four retes (a network of cells) in the human body.
Pemayangtse Monastery is the main tourist attraction of the town. Despite being over 300 years old, the monastery is in excellent condition and is well maintained by the monks. At elevation of over 6500 ft, the monastery is a three-storied structure with several statues including those of Padmasambhava (Lotus Born).
The first level of the monastery has beautiful sculptures, paintings and ancient scrolls along with the notable statue of Padmasambhava’s eight incarnations with the seven layered wooden structure depicting the heavenly abode of Guru Rimpoche.
The main prayer hall of the monastery is a huge room. The statues near the entrance of the monastery are exquisitely carved and have amazing attention to detail. There is a garden adjacent to the monastery which is well maintained.
Designed and founded by Lama Lhatsun Chempoway, the monastery in Pemayangtse was originally built as a crypt but it was later expanded. Earthquakes in 1913 and 1960 ruined the town and the monastery but they were rebuilt and have been renovated many times since. The monastery is home to the monks who are sworn to celibacy. These monks are given the title of ‘ta-tshang’.
The monastery is also the starting point of the 46 km long Dzongri trekking trail through the dense forests in Khangchendzonga National Park. This trekking trail is considered to be the most popular in Sikkim. You can also visit the ruins of Rabdentse that are located near the town.