Pemayangtse Gompa

Buddhist Monastery in Pelling

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.