Sikkim is mostly known for its mesmerizing natural beauty and a prominent tourist destination for the travelers who are fond of the captivating and serene hilly terrains of the Himalayan mountain range. The jaw-dropping beauty of the white snow-clad mountain tops, large lakes and water springs, vivacious valleys of flower and apple orchards of the North Sikkim, and the lush greenery draped hilly landscape of the south Sikkim has always been attracting tourists from all over the world. Sikkim is the most favorite place to recharge and rejuvenate your mind and body amidst the tranquility and beauty of the Himalayan Mountains.
Along with the rich biodiversity to explore in the Himalayan state of India, the Sikkim is also the home to famous pilgrim destinations for the Buddhism and Hinduism followers. The myriads of Monasteries and Temples located in every corner of the state make this beautiful Himalayan region a favorite religious destination as well. The beautiful amalgamation of Buddhism and Hinduism philosophy attracts people of both faiths to this region and thousands of religious tourists visit this place every year.
Here, in this article, you will know about the 6 most famous religious places in Sikkim which hold prominence in the Buddhism and Hinduism religion.
The famous Ganesh Tok or Temple is located on a hill in the Gangtok, the capital city of Sikkim. The capital of Sikkim is not only famous for its amazing natural beauty, but also for various prominent pilgrimage destinations. Even though the temple is built in the small area, this is one of the key temples in Gangtok. The path to the temple is decorated with the multicolored flags which are the trademark of this temple. The entrance of the temple is narrow so only one person can enter and get the Darshan of Lord Ganesha at one time. Situated on the hill, the temple offers an amazing overlooking view of the Gangtok city as well as the view of the Khangchendzonga Mountain. The temple dedicated to the Lord Ganesha is the most visited temple in the Gangtok to offer prayers and get the Darshan.
Hanuman Tok or Hanuman Temple is also one of the prominent temples located in the capital city of Sikkim. The tranquility and serenity around the temple are so mesmerizing that it will attract you to spend some time here. There is one more Hanuman Temple in the city which is built by the Indian Army. The scenic beauty surrounding the Hanuman Tok Temple is mesmerizing for the visitors. Hinduism followers, as well as the other tourists who visit Gangtok, have to visit this place to view the enchanting natural beauty and feel the serenity surrounds the temple. One can also get the overlooking view of the Kanchenjunga mountain range which adds the surrounding beauty. The temple is located around 11 km from the main city of Gangtok on the branch road of the Gangtok-Nathula Highway at the height of 7200 feet from the sea level. The legend of this temple says that Lord Hanuman rested here for a while during his return trip to Lanka from the Himalayas carrying the Sanjeevani herbs to cure Lord Lakshman. The temple is famously known as the wish-fulfilling temple.
Recently developed pilgrimage destination in Sikkim, the Solophok Chardham is developed by the state government of Sikkim to promote the religious tourism in the state. This religious place is located in the South Sikkim on the top of the Solophok hill in the enchanting scenic surroundings. The Chardham temple landscape is spread over the area of 7 acres and the main temple is having the height of 108 feet. The Lord Shiva idol of the height of 87 feet situated in the meditating position at the top of the main temple offers you the grand view of the mighty Lord of Death. The temple was inaugurated by the then Chief Minister of Assam, Shri Pawan Chamling and Jagat Guru Shankaracharya Swami Swarupananda Saraswati Ji Maharaj on 8th November 2011.
The temple complex has the outstanding replicas of all the twelve Jyotirlingas dedicated to Lord Shiva along with the 16.5 feet tall idol of Lord Kirateshwar, also one of the incarnations of Lord Shiva. The amazing view of the temple complex not only attracts the religious followers, but also the tourists from various parts of India. The beautiful scenic region has also been developed as the tourism and cultural spot along with the religious destination to attract tourists from the different walk of life. The facilities like VIP guest houses, dormitories, eating points, cafeteria and parking places are available at the spot. The temple complex is located at the distance of 5 km from the nearest Namchi town and accessible by a well-built road.
Kirateshwar Mahadev Mandir
Situated in the Legship in west Sikkim, the Kirateshwar Mahadev Mandir is an old temple dedicated to the Lord Kirateshwar, an incarnation of Lord Shiva in the form of the hunter. This is a prominent pilgrimage destination for the devotees of Lord Shiva in the Hindu Religion. As per the legend which is related to Mahabharata, Lord Shiva took the disguise of a hunter to test the archery of Arjuna, the third Pandava and then blessed him. Since then, the Kirateshwar is worshiped as the hunter god. The temple is located on the bank of the River Rangit and a suspension bridge connects the main road to the temple. The grand Shivratri festival in the month of February or March and the Bala Chaturdashi festival in the month of November or December is organized here every year by the local people which are the main attraction of this temple. Though the temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, there is also the separate platform to worship Lord Rama and Goddess Durga in this temple.
Sikkim can be called as the land of monasteries as there are plenty of ancient and modern monasteries located in the Sikkim. Being a major Buddhism destination and home to a large number of Buddhism followers, the Sikkim attracts a large number of tourists and followers of Buddhism philosophy. The Rumtek Monastery is one of the oldest and the biggest monasteries in the Sikkim which is located at the Gangtok, around 24 km from the city. This monastery is the prime Buddhist pilgrimage destination for the followers of the Tibetan Buddhism. Known for exhibiting many valuable historical artifacts such as ancient metal statues, cenotaphs adorned with gems, etc. The monastery was first built by the 12th Karmapa Lama Changchub Dorje in 1730 which was destroyed in a fire mishap. Again, the ruin of the Rumtek Monastery was rebuilt and inaugurated by the 16th Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorje in 1966 and made the official seat of glorious Karmapa.
Another ancient monastery in the Sikkim state, the Pemayangtse Monastery is also one of the prominent Buddhism pilgrimage sites which is located near Pelling around 140 km from the capital city of Sikkim, Gangtok. The monastery was designed and built by the Lama Lhatsun Chempo in the year of 1705 and it was further enlarged and renovated over the time. The Pemayangtse Monastery follows and also controls other monasteries of the Nyingma Order of Tibet Buddhism in Sikkim. The architecture of the monastery astonishes viewers with the wide range of the finest sculptures and wall paintings. The stunning statues near the entrance of the monastery offer a splendid viewing experience. The beautiful picturesque surrounding of the monastery makes it a famous tourist destination.