Image by The ornate facade of Pemayangtse gompa Joe Bindloss Lonely Planet
One of Sikkim’s oldest and most significant Nyingmapa monasteries, Pemayangtse is atmospherically backed by traditional wood-and-stone monastic cottages descending from a 2080m hilltop towards the Rabdentse ruins. The oft-remodelled central temple's most memorable attraction is the top floor's seven-tiered model representing Zangtok Palri (Padmasambhava’s heavenly abode), handmade over five laborious years by a single dedicated lama. Unheralded in a surrounding attic passage is an underlit, museum-like collection of costumes, implements and remnants from previous incarnations of the monastic buildings.
There has been a Buddhist shrine on the site since 1647. Literally translated, Pemayangtse means ‘Perfect Sublime Lotus’. The monastery is 500m off the Geyzing Road – turn north 1.5km east of Upper Pelling.