24km away from Gangtok
Bowling down the partially rutted through picturesque countryside you'll come to the impressive Rumtek Monastery Commissioned by his holiness the 16th incarnate of the original Gyalwa Karmapa of Tibet and head of the Kagyupa sect of Buddhism, this lavishly built monastery is said to be a replica of the Tsurphu Monastery in Tibet. The splendor of Tibetan monastic art is beautifully reflected in its traditional architecture, carved and painted woodwork, magnificent, murals and treasures of manuscripts and icons. Though this is a very holy Buddhist pilgrimage site, but visitors can imbibe of the tranquil air and beautiful location while soaking in the significant cultural elements. It is also famed for its dazzling masked dances during important festivals.
A 15 minute walk takes you to the old Rumtek Monastery (now entirely renovated), which was built in the reign of the fourth Chogyal. It is embellished with monastic paintings in the traditional style, painted by a Sikkimese lad who learnt the art from the lamas. Enshrined here is a stone slab marked with the footprint of Guru Padmasambhava. It is now the residence of His Holiness and the headquarters of the Dharma Chakra Religious Centre. The monastery also offers employment, education and medical help.