One of the must-visit monasteries of Darjeeling in West Bengal is Yi Gha Choling Gompa, which is also popularly known as Old Ghoom Monastery. It is one of the oldest Tibetan Buddhist monasteries. The old Ghoom monastery or Yi Gha Choling Gompa is almost a 30-min drive from Darjeeling town. There is another monastery, the new Ghoom Monastery, which is located below Hill Cart road and Ghoom Railway Station, also known as Samten Choeling Monastery. Sometimes, tourists get confused between Old Ghoom Monastery, which is Yi Gha Choling Monastery, and New Ghoom Monastery, which is Samten Choeling Monastery.
The old monastery, Yi Gha Choling Gompa, was established by the famous Mongolian astrologer and a monk Sokpo Sherab Gyatso in 1850. It was later succeeded by the venerable late Khabje Doma Geshe Ngawang Kalsang Rinpoche. The tenure of a 15-feet high image of Maitreya Buddha Statue was commissioned during Doma Geshi Rinpoche. The monastery is very beautiful, and it is famous for its beautiful Thangka on the walls; the big and small drums, which are specially played during the prayer hours, and the fancy bells. The storehouse of Tibetan translations of popular Sanskrit works such as Meghadoot by Kalidasa, Nagamandala by Sriharsa, and NyayaKrit by Dharmakriti are the main attractions of Darjeeling. Both the monasteries, the old Ghoom monastery, Yi Gha Choling Gompa, and the new Ghoom Monastery, Samten Choeling Monastery, are must-visit monasteries of Darjeeling. They are also one of the most attractive places to visit for both the locals and tourists.
Normally, the monastery opens from 12:00 midnight to 12:00 noon. You can take a taxi or a private cab from Darjeeling town to reach the monastery.