Monastery – the Saga, the Belief , the Architecture
“Travel is more than seeing of the Sights,
It is a change that goes on, deep & permanent,
In the Ideas of Living”
So true seem these words…….the experience of exploring Sikkim has charged me with a new energy, a new spiritual air, a new inspiration & most of all a new way to IMAGINE. The colourful & unique architecture of the place has amused me as much as it’s serene natural beauty. The calmness in its air has brought forth a tranquil exploration.
Sikkim boasts of an incredible history which mirrors the traditions & cultures of Tibetan & Nepalese tribes. Amongst the most splendid buildings are the sacred monasteries & gompas spread all over the state.
The architecture of Monasteries is one to gaze & behold forever. Highly influenced by the architecture of Nepal, China & India the colourful, vibrant & splendid details are mesmerising & unique.
Like any other place monasteries in Sikkim are also on a vast area of land. The building complex comprises of the main hall or temple, residence of monks, stupas. Most of them also house an educational institute like school or a college.
Lingdum Monastery- the enchanting experience
The Lingdum Monastery in Sikkim is a typical representative of all the features of a Tibetan monastery. Although built in 1992 with not much historical significance, this complex is spectacular, inviting and informative. Perched amidst the forested hillocks of Ranka Village, about 15 kms from the state capital of Sikkim, this large sized monastery complex includes temples, mediation halls, stupa, residence quarters, school & hostel.
From the entrance itself a breeze of divinity brushes past & you are captivated with the colourful sight. The large doorway & the walls are decorated with frescos, motifs & paintings from Buddhist tradition called Thangkas. The doorway leads you to a central courtyard from where the picturesque view of the main building charms you with its beautifully crafted symmetrical elevation & pagoda roofs. Raised on the hillock stairways from both sides lead you to the front court from where a splendid view of the whole complex can be experienced.
The Ornate Door
Standing in the front court, The Door to the inner sanctum greets you with its enthralling magnificence. Dressed in bright red colour and adorned with brass elements, I was spellbound with its dramatic details.
The door handle is a timeless vignette of Tibetan art work & belief where two dragons represent the protection from evil spirits.
The Prayer Hall
The Inner Sanctum or Prayer Hall was a hypnotic experience prayer seatings & hundreds of butter lamps casting a spectacular illuminance along with the aroma of incense lingering in the air. The deep silence inside was meditative & soul enriching.
Butter lamps are believed to focus the mind & aid meditation. Hundreds of lamps illuminated together is a sight to behold & offers sublime realisation.
The upper floors of the monastery have various rooms for prayer, meditation & retreat.
The doors on these floors are beautifully painted with typical features from Tibetan mythology.
Another fascinating structure in the complex is the Stupa or the Chortans. Stupas are Buddhist temples having a solid structure ususally containing a sacred object or an inscription from a sacred text. Structure is bell shaped having five levels with a spike at the top. The five levels are said to represent the elements of the world. Some also say that the shape is a symbolic representation of Buddha’s Body.
The Chorten in Lingdum Monastery is an exquisite structure in white laden with golden ornamentation. The sparkling beauty of white amidst the lush green backdrop is impressive & picturesque.
The complex also houses the university, where young lamas are taught Buddhist scriptures.
The view of the Educational building & hostel from the monastery.
The visit to the monastery was an incredible experience & I have come back harmonised, inspired & enriched. The chants, the rituals, the echoes & most of all the vibrant, colourful & mesmerising architecture has cast a lasting impression on my mind. I’m looking forward to reflect the memories of this mystical shrine in my creative discourse.
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