From Gangtok as you drive further North towards Mangan, the district capital of North Sikkim, you will soon come across Kabi Langchuk, a place of significant historical value. After you have crossed Kabi, before you have even caught your breath, you hit the Karma Kagyu monastery of Phodong.
Around 38 kms from Gangtok are the monasteries of Phodong, Phensang and Labrang. All three are close to each other on the North Sikkim Highway.
Phodang Monastery also known as The Karma Kagyu Monastery was built in the 18th century by Chogyal Gyurmed Namgyal. It belongs to the Kargyupa sect. The original monastery has been rebuilt although the old mural paintings and frescoes were preserved. It celebrates its annual ‘chaam’ on the 28th and 29th day of the tenth month of the Tibetan calendar.
Phensang Monastery was built in 1721 by Lama Jigme Pawo, who was the third incarnation of Lhatsun Chenpo. In 1947 it was completely destroyed by a devastating fire but rebuilt again the following year. The annual ‘Chaam’ is held on the 28th and the 29th day of the tenth month of the Tibetan calendar.
Labrang Monastery is famous for its architectural style with rich frescoes detailing the interiors of the monastery. Between Phodong and Labrang Monastery are the ruins of the third capital of Sikkim, Tumlong.
For a Buddhist Monastic Tour to Phodong, Sikkim, contact Royal House Tours & Travels, Gangtok.