Enchey Monastery is the unlikely stand out experience from our time in Sikkim. It is the first place we visit in the Himalayas and our introduction to the unique Tibetan culture in the region. On planning it didn’t rank high on the priority list “it’s nearby we may as well call in….” The previous night we arrive to Gangtok after dark (travel from Bagdogra) and wake that morning to a new world. Well, we actually wake a little disappointed. Expecting majestic mountain scenes we are instead welcomed only by dense cloud. So much cloud it was literally coming through the hotel windows. With somewhat disappointing weather we decide to just take in a few local attractions starting at Enchey Monastery which sits directly behind our hotel (Hotel Mount Siniolchu). A quick walk UP the lane finds the Enchey Monastery gates.
Spinning Prayer Wheels
Enchey Monastery is one of the smaller monasteries in Sikkim; hidden beneath trees in the back hills of Gangtok. When we arrive we find enchanting scenes. Locals circle the compound, spinning prayer wheels beneath lines of shimmering prayer flags. Our surroundings sink into a haze of cloud. Tibetan monks apparate from surrounding housing and forests and Buddhist chants echo from the monks in prayer at the central building. Peaceful, serene and enchanting. Enchey Monastery is one of them places you hate to leave. Different from the famous monasteries in Sikkim which are more like sanctuaries away from local life. The locality adds to the charm as a thin stream of Gangtokians pass through on merit making. Spinning prayer wheels as they go. At the more famous monasteries the tourists tend to outnumber the locals yet at Enchey Monastery we find zero tourists.
‘Teaching’ Young Monks
A school sits opposite the central building where kids sit robed and quiet. Learning; only some not so proficiently as others. Admittedly I was a tad shocked to see the dimmer of the bunch caned by the teacher watching over them. A practice of discipline I’m not used to in my happy, non-violent bubble. Being nosy I go to see what the young monks are learning. With a bit of pestering they point out a script board which they are copying. They then go back to ignoring me or stare back blankly, unamused. Lesson for today kids; Westerners are intrusive and annoying.
Getting to Enchey Monastery
To reach Enchey Monastery take a quick 100 RP (or less) taxi from Gangtok City Centre. The nearby hotel is Hotel Mount Siniolchu (linked above). For video of our Enchey Monastery visit watch below. Enjoy.