Also known as the Dharma Chakra Center has The painting of Lord Ganesh inspired by the 16th Karmapa’s vision. As you step towards the monastery you will be welcomed by life size paintings of four guardians of the Universe.
The beautiful monastery enshrines a golden stupa which contains relics like statues and paintings that belong to the 16th Karmapa. There are important Buddhist buildings near the monastery like the Nalanda Institute of Higher Buddhist studies and less than a kilometer uphill from the monastery is a hermitage where monks go to meditate for a period of up to three years. Foreign nationals need special permit to visit the monastery.
Originally built under the direction of Changchub Dorje, 12th Karmapa Lama in the mid-1700s, Rumtek served as the main seat of the Karma Kagyu lineage in Sikkim for some time. But when Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, 16th Karmapa, arrived in Sikkim in 1959 after fleeing Tibet, the monastery was in ruins. Despite being offered other sites, the Karmapa decided to rebuild Rumtek. To him, the site possessed many auspicious qualities and was surrounded by the most favorable attributes. For example, flowing streams, mountains behind, a snow range in front, and a river below. With the generosity and help of the Sikkim royal family and the local folks of Sikkim, it was built by the 16th Karmapa as his main seat in exile.
After four years, construction of the monastery was completed. The sacred items and relics brought out from Tsurphu Monastery, the Karmapa’s seat in Tibet, were installed. On Losar in 1966, the 16th Karmapa officially inaugurated the new seat, called “The Dharmachakra Centre, a place of erudition and spiritual accomplishment, the seat of the glorious Karmapa.“
The monastery is currently the largest in Sikkim. It is home to the community of monks and where they perform the rituals and practices of the Karma Kagyu lineage. A golden stupa contains the relics of the 16th Karmapa. Opposite that building is a college, Karma Shri Nalanda Institute for Higher Buddhist Studies.
Rumtek is located 24 kilometres (15 mi) from Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim, at an altitude of about 1,500 metres (4,900 ft).
The Rumtek Monastery features in the 2014 Indian mystery thriller novel The emperor’s riddles by Satyarth Nayak.
Places of interest
Banjhakri Falls | Tashi View Point | Ganesh Tok | Chorten Monastery
Best guide for you
- Maintain silence.
- Avoid using mobile phones.
- Do not touch artifacts and holy objects inside the Museum.
- Open shoes before entering.
- Take permission for photography inside the monastery.
- Avoid littering the monastery complex.
- Wear modest clothing and no smoking/drinking.