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Connect to silence of the hills at Kalimpong’s Tharpa Choling Monastery

4 January, 2020 06:02:12
Connect to silence of the hills at Kalimpong’s Tharpa Choling Monastery

Perched on a hill-top with the magnificent Kanchenjungha playing peek-a-boo with floating clouds in the backdrop, Kalimpong’s Gaden Tharpa Choling Monastery is a haven of peace and tranquility. If you wish to steal a day from your whirlwind tour of Kalimpong, Darjeeling or even Sikkim, this monastery will help you to rediscover yourself, far from the madding crowds. The deep prayer gong will surely send a rhythm to match your heartbeat, lift your soul and transport you to a different world.


The monastery was founded in 1912 by Rinpoche Domo Geshe Ngawang Kalsang - the Great Doctor, who was loved and revered by people from all walks of life because of his healing abilities. The Gaden Tharpa Choling which is a Gelugpa Sect monastery still carries the legendary healing powers, not just of the body but for the mind too. The Great Doctor was so popular, that locals gave their orange orchards and paddy fields to him to build the monastery. With passage of time, monks from various schools of Tibetan Buddhism and of Sherpa, Tamang and Gurung origin joined the monastery. After the demise of Domo Geshe the monastery was passed on to a team of abbots to run it smoothly. They follow rules of Vinaya, a spiritual code of conduct laid down by the 13th Dalai Lama. 


Around 55 monks from Tibet and other Himalayan regions reside in this abode of peace. They primarily devote their lives to serve God and humanity. And you can feel their tranquil charm in their ever-innocent smiles, reflecting the positive impact of a serene monastic life they lead far from urban humdrum. Young student monks lead a tough disciplined life. Their day starts at the break of dawn with washing, cleaning rooms and offering water to the divine altar. They recite prayers for the long life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, world peace and perform various religious rituals during the congregation between 5:30 to 7:00 am. The text memorization classes begin soon after. The senior class is primarily taught Tibetan Grammar, while the junior class is made to practice vocabulary, reading and writing. After a tea break, the monks are taught Buddhist philosophy both in Tibetan and English. The introduction of Buddhism is taught every alternate day. The long day ends with a self-study session, followed by tuition classes around    8:30pm. The monks also hold special meetings and initiations in silence when eminent Buddhist leaders pay a visit. On special occasions, people from the neighbouring community assemble for blessing programs.


While the monks are busy studying, you can catch a magnificent view of the snowy peak and learn your own lessons from nature. Or else you can marvel at the images of Lord Buddha on the monastery walls, depicting the incarnations of the past, present and future. There are various other shrines in the monastery campus including that of Ge-sar Lhagang or the Chinese temple, Lha-Ten or the temple of the protector deity of the monastery, Lu-Khang, the temple of Naga, Lha-Ten, the temple of the protector deity of the monastery, the shrine for Shangmo Dorje Bhuti and Mani Lhagang. The museum, behind the monastery depicts the lives of Dalai Lama and Rinpoche in Tibet before, during and after the Chinese invasion. Wrap up your day visit to the monastery with a picturesque sunset and the divine sound of the gong.


How to reach
Travel three kilometers towards the Tirpar Hills along the KD Pradhan Road from Kalimpong City Centre and you will reach Tharpa Choling Monastery. 


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