Dubdi Monastery is the first established and the oldest gompa in Sikkim. Established in 1701, it is a Tibetan monastery of the Nyingma sect and was set up by the Chogyals and is a part of the Buddhist religious pilgrimage circuit. It is perched atop a hill and can be reached through a half an hour's walk from Yuksom.
The Dubdi monastery was also called the Hermit's Cell – after its founder Lhatsun Namkha Jigme and it happens to be the only monastery surviving among the four other monasteries constructed during the time of its establishment in Sikkim.
Dubdi Monastery is perched at a height of 7,000 ft and has very beautiful and artistic interiors. The walls of the gompa are painted with lovely images of gods and saints and the place houses a beautiful collection of books, texts and manuscripts.
Also present inside are the statues of three of the lamas who were responsible for Dubdi's establishment. Overall, it makes a very interesting spot to visit.
Kartok is yet another beautiful monastery in Yuksom. Situated opposite the Kartok Lake, the gompa has been named after a lama who was part of the coronation of the maiden ruler of Sikkim. Kartok monastery is part of three important monasteries at Yuksom. Two other important monasteries are the Dubdi monastery and the Ngadak Chorling Monastery.
Tashiding Monastery in Sikkim is yet another spot considered extremely sacred. Reason: It is believed that Guru Padmasambhava blessed Sikkim in the 8th century from the land where Tashiding is located. Situated on a heart-shaped hill, it is an extremely beautiful place that offers an alluring view of Mount Kanchenjunga in the backdrop.
The Tashiding Monastery was constructed in the 18th century AD by Ngadak Sempa Chempo - one among the three lamas having performed Sikkim's first chogyal's consecration ceremony.
There is also a famous chorten that Tashiding is renowned for. It is called the Thong-WaRang-Dol' which means 'Saviours by mere sight' and accordingly, it is believed that just a sight of the chorten by devotees will wash away all the sins.
There is yet another important event that the Tashiding Monastery is famous for. The gompa hosts the 'sacred water festival' every year. On the 14th and 15th day of the Lunar month every year, a ceremony called the Bhumchu ceremony is held at the monastery when the devotees are blessed with the holy water.
This holy water is taken out on an auspicious day once every year and is again sealed back by the lamas of the monastery safely.
This beautiful lake in Sikkim is revered by Buddhists as well as Hindus and is a sacred water body known to have wish full-filling powers. The word Khecheopalri is derived from two words, Khcheo and Palri which mean 'flying yoginis/ angels' and 'Palace', respectively.
The beautiful lake which is also known by the name of Kha-Chot-Palri is close by Khecheopalri village and is surrounded by the Khecheopalri Hill, which is also considered sacred as well.
Legends That Reason The Lake's Sacredness . . .
While it is believed that Guru Padmasambhava taught 64 yoginis at this pristine lake; it is even believed that the lake is the foot print of goddess Tara – The female Buddha in Vajrayana Buddhism. Accordingly, the lake even appears like a footprint from an areal view.
And according to yet another interesting legend, this particular lake is believed to represent thorax – one among the four plexus of the human body. The other three plexus are believed to be represented by Tashiding, Yuksom and Pemayangtse.
What's more, this lake also forms an important part of Demazong – the valley of rice and the Khecheopalri Lake forms part of the Buddhist pilgrimage circuit that involves the Tashiding monastery, Dubdi monastery, Yuksom, Pemayangtse Monastery, Rabdentse ruins and the Sanga Choeling monastery.
There is an interesting fact about this sacred water body. For reasons unknown, birds here ensure that no leaves dropped on to the water float on the lake. Immediately as a leave falls on the lake, birds fly down and pick them up and away from the waters!
Every year, a religious festival called the Maghe Purne is held here during April/May which attracts thousands of devotees not just from India but also from places like Nepal and Bhutan every year. Also, yet another festival called the Chho-Tsho is celebrated at the lake in October in observance of the harvest of cardamom plantation.
Since the place is of religious as well as tourist importance, some necessary facilities have been provided in its premises. A lake jetty is present through which one can lead the front potion of the lake and offer prayers. In addition, prayer wheels and prayer flags have been fixed along the jetty, that not just add to the beauty of the lake but also enhance the place's pious atmosphere.
Yuksom is a trekker's paradise. It happens to be a base camp for various treks. Some of the places that trekkers can hike to from Yuksom are as listed: Trek to Tashiding/Goecha La or Dzongri Peak, one day trek to Kachupuri Lake and trek to the Kanchenjunga National Park which takes about two hours.
Yuksom can even be a base camp for a week-long trek to Kanchenjunga and all certified Himalayan trekkers can even trek to the Himalayas with Yuksom as their base camp.