Rumtek Monastery: The Largest Monastery in Sikkim

Home to invaluable treasures including the bejeweled black hat meant for the Karmapa, Rumtek is one monastery in Sikkim you cannot miss.

Rumtek Monastery: The Largest Monastery in Sikkim

If you know anything at all about the 'Black Hat' sect of Buddhism, you would know that Rumtek, the largest monastery in Sikkim, is the seat of the Karmapa-in-exile.

If you don't, you will find the story of the Karmapa and the black hat in Rumtek fascinating. The 12th Karmapa built the original monastery in the mid-eighteenth century. It was an important monastery for Tibetan Buddhists and the home of the bejeweled black hat that has been worn by the Karmapas for over 600 years. This hat is believed to be other-worldly and woven from the hair of angels and the name, 'Black Hat' for this sect of Buddhism was hence derived.

The 16th Karmapa had to flee Tibet and he arrived in Sikkim carrying priceless manuscripts and relics. The Royal Family of Sikkim helped him rebuild Rumtek and made it the seat of the Karmapa-in-exile from persecution in Tibet. So it was under the 16th Karmapa that Rumtek regained its lost glory and became the repository of invaluable treasures again.

After the 16th Karmapa passed away, there have been two claimants of the hat, but it remains guarded. So when you visit this monastery, you still have the opportunity to get a glimpse of this coveted black hat.

Good to Know : 

Location: 29 km from Sterling Gangtok

Entry Fee: As applicable

Timing: 9 am to 6 pm

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