Built in 1850 in Ghoom, 7 kilometers from the main town at an altitude of 2226 meters, Yiga Choeling Monastery happens to be one of the oldest Buddhist monasteries in Darjeeling. It is also referred as the Ghoom Monastery by many. It was built by the Tibetan monk and astrologer Lama Sherab Gyatso.
It is a half an hour drive from the Darjeeling town to the Ghoom Monastery. It was the second tourist spot I visited in Darjeeling.
The monastery houses the 15-foot model of the Lord Buddha known as The Maitreya Buddha or the Gyalwa Shampa that refers to the Coming Buddha or the Buddha of the future. Photography is chargeable at a rate of Rs.10 per photo and Rs.50 for a video shot. This money was being raised for running the monastery which was running on loss for several years. In any case, I had to shell out the money as I was not ready to come back without capturing some magical moments spent there.
The interior walls of the monastery displayed images of many Buddha deities and lamas. Two large lamps were alit in front of the big statue of Buddha. The monastery houses a huge collection of Buddhist manuscripts including a 108-volume Kangyur – The Tibetan Buddhist Gospel. There are also bells and a huge drum inside.
Nestled cozily in the arms of the Himalayan range, the monastery offered some of the most picturesque view of the snowcapped Kanchenjunga. The awe-inspiring serenity and silence with the magnificent natural view all around made up for a surreal experience that no words can explain. No wonder, most of the monasteries are built on mountains. It gives you the peace and silence that helps you to come face to face with your inner self.
Just close your eyes for a moment and feel the positive vibration resonating within yourself. It is absolutely out of the world. After absorbing and filling up my heart and soul with the sheer bliss, I captured some of the beautiful shots for me too look back after I get back home.