Thonwa Rang Grol
The Tashiding monastery located on a hillock is bounded by valleys in the background and numerous Chortens in the foreground, thus making it an exquisite pilgrimage site. The golden Chorten near the monastery is a unique construction holding spiritual significance from time immemorial. An interesting folklore behind the erection of this beautiful chorten is that the three monks who hallowed the first king of Sikkim saw an extraordinary light on the top of Mount Khanchandzonga reflected to the site where the monastery has been built today. Alongside, a scented smell of incense followed by infused divine music was eminent in addition. On hearing this atypical story, the first Chogyal (king) initiated the erection of this beautiful Chorten, popularly known as Thonwa Rang. The supplementary fable further states that a sheer vista of the Chorten bestows self- liberation.
Tashiding monastery stands atop a hill that emerges up sandwiched between the Rathong and Rangeet rivers with the mighty Mt. Khangchendzonga as the backdrop. Built in 1641 by Ngadak Chempo Phunshok Rigzing during the reign of the third Chogyal Chakdor Namgyal, The monastery follows the Nyingma pa sect of ancient Tibetan school of Buddhism. An interesting folklore is worth mentioning, it so happened that Guru Padmasambhava shot an arrow into the air and commanded that he would meditate where the arrow would land, the arrow landed and he sat on meditation and eventually became the site of the Tashiding monastery. Tashiding monastery is held in high esteem and its significance has augmented diversely and today, the monastery witnesses a mighty influx of followers of Buddhism from all over the nations dissipated across the globe. From the market centre, the approach to the monastery is through a road and also a foot path. The footpath is lined with whipping prayer flags and passes through prayer wheels concluding at the doorway of the gate of the monastery. It is a spectacular sight to witness on the mani, the sacred Buddhist inscription Om Mani Padme Hum carved by the master craftsman Yanchong Lodil. At the far end of the monastery complex, there are forty one Chortens categorized as Chortens of Enlightenment Chortens of Great Miracle and Chortens of Reconciliation; holding the relics of SikkimChogyals (kings) and lamas (monks). Thonwa Rang Drol which is believed to cleanse the soul of any person by a sheer look of it. A popular religious festival known as Bhumchu Mela is held on the 14th and 15th day of the first month of the Tibetan calendar.
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